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Lack of Sleep and the Effect on an ADHD Teen

Lack of Sleep and the Effect on an ADHD Teen

Sleep is a vital component to life, and when we do not get enough it impacts our body. However, what are the effects on individuals with ADHD?

Recently a study looked at How Sleep Duration Affects Daytime Function in Teens with ADHD; stating insufficient sleep may cause impairments in daytime function among teenagers with ADHD. This information is provided according to findings from a crossover sleep restriction/extension study.

Stephen P. Becker, Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a 3-week sleep protocol study with youth ages 14-17; the protocol had a stabilization week, one week of sleep restriction (6.5 hours) and one-week sleep extension (9.5 hours). This study was done to investigate whether sleep duration was casually associated with sleepiness, inattention, and behavioral function in teens with ADHD. Sleep was monitored with actigraphy and daily sleep diaries and a laboratory visit were conducted.

On average the 48 participates experienced 1.6 hours more sleep nightly during the sleep extension period than during the sleep restriction period.  The study found that during sleep restriction, participants experienced greater measured sleep efficiency, shorter diary reporting, greater difficulty waking, greater daytime sleepiness and more likely to report napping compared to the sleep extension week. Parents also reported greater inattention and oppositional behaviors during sleep restriction, as well as, greater sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms.

Dr. Becker states; “Our findings have potentially important implications for the treatment of adolescents with ADHD. If shortened sleep duration worsens daytime functioning, then the flip side of the coin is that extended sleep duration improves daytime functioning."

Sufficient sleep is an important factor in controlling symptoms of ADHD . Play Attention can be used in conjunction with the other intervention steps like increased sleep to help improve attention, behavior, and executive function.

When ADHD disturbs the sleep

         Between thirty and fifty percent of adolescent ADHD patients are affected by sleep disorders. However, it is often not easy for clinicians to clearly demonstrate the relationship between sleep quality and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also what cause and what effect is, cannot always be answered exactly.

         The numerous studies published on the sleep behavior of children and adolescents with ADHD also fail to provide more transparency.

Studies are based on different criteria

         The investigations using sleep protocols and questionnaires are often subjective and distorting, this is because almost every survey on patient age or diagnostic criteria has been put together differently.

         In addition, ADHD is associated with a variety of psychiatric abnormalities, which in turn made it difficult to sleep soundly. This makes it particularly complicated to filter out a typical sleep profile for ADHD.

Unbalanced biochemical processes disturb sleep

         In any case, it is not clear to what extent a disturbed sleep at night has an effect on the ADHD symptoms, in practice, there are patients affected by ADHD who sleep less than unaffected peers and who still have no impact on daily performance or emotional well-being.

Sleep and sleep problems are the most common

         The spectrum of possible sleep disorders in children and adolescents with ADHD is broad. Most often, however, sufferers have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through, and they often wake up very early.

         "Analogous to the attention problems during the day, it seems that some of the affected people have neurobiological problems to get from the awake to the sleep state," the expert comments. "It is thought that this may be due to the imbalance in messenger metabolism, and in some cases it may also be due to the late release of the body's own sleep hormone melatonin."

         In addition, some of the children show significant ADHD symptoms with hyperactivity and impulsivity, especially in the evening. This in turn could complicate the harmonious interaction with the parents and thus also a quiet and relaxed bedtime.

Sleep apnea or restless legs can increase ADHD

         An assignment of sleep problems is sometimes complicated by cross-connections to other organic disorder patterns. Here child and adolescent psychiatrists calls especially the sleep apnea syndrome, which is caused by breathing pauses during the sleep.

         Rare is the Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), so the urge to move and involuntary movements of the legs, if you want to lie quietly in bed. The RLS is due to a malfunction of the dopamine metabolism.

Through such disturbances, nocturnal sleep not only loses its ability to recover. They could also cause typical ADHD symptoms, especially in children, with concentration problems, imbalance and motor restlessness.

         "In some cases this is a paradoxical reaction to the feeling of being inexperienced." In adults, it would be more common to find daytime fatigue, and it is equally important for treating physicians to have sleep-disordered breathing, such as snoring, audible apnea, or enlargement of the palate this is the only way to determine after the exclusion procedure what ultimately causes the lack of sleep. "

Ritalin and amphetamine also trigger sleep problems

         Negative effects on the sleep structure have been proven to include the ADHD drugs methylphenidate (known as Ritalin) or amphetamine. Recent studies have shown that these psych stimulants cause significantly more sleep disorders than has been previously reported in studies. For this reason, it is hoped that medication will increasingly take account of the complex relationship between sleep and ADHD.

         "In some cases it is necessary to reduce the dosage of psych stimulants to reduce sleep problems." In addition, by administering the hormone melatonin there is a chance to improve sleep difficulties in particular. However, this treatment should only be temporary. "In addition, it is not officially approved and is therefore to be evaluated as an individual healing process."

            In order to restore sound sleep architecture, it is primarily helpful to take in sleep rituals and certain relaxation techniques as an accompanying measure that even minors can learn.

Fatigue and media consumption aggravate ADHD

         In addition, the experienced child and adolescent psychiatrist advises all parents of a fatigued "Fidget philipps" consistently to ensure that the slumber of their child is sufficient. Sufficient sleep plays a fundamental role in the physical, mental and mental performance of adolescents. But a sufficient amount of sleep seems to be more difficult than ever to be implemented. On average, teenagers only get to sleep for about seven hours.

         "Worldwide, we are facing the huge problem that the amount of sleep young people actually need is far from being reached, so it can be assumed that a significant part of the so-called ADHD symptoms today is an expression of lethargy. Excessive media consumption plays a prominent role. "

         Therefore, according to the urgent recommendation of the psychiatrist, fathers and mothers should definitely have the courage to tackle the conflicting topic and, if necessary, to clearly limit computer, tablet or smartphone use even without their child's consent in the evening.

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