A new study examined sleep problems in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The Italian study involved 55 children with ADHD. They had an average age of about 9 years. They completed a sleep interview and were monitored during an overnight sleep study.
Results show that most of the children had disturbed, fragmentary sleep at night. The authors found a significant difference in almost all sleep variables between ADHD children and controls.
Fifty percent of the children struggled with restlessness; 21 percent had a complaint of snoring; and about 12 percent had leg discomfort at night related to restless legs syndrome.
Many of the children also had parasomnias. About 48 percent were sleepwalkers; 38 percent had sleep terrors; and almost 29 percent had confusional arousals.
In 52 percent of the children the authors also found an abnormality of the arousal process in slow-wave sleep. Sleepwalking, sleep terrors and confusional arousals typically involve arousals from slow-wave sleep.
The authors suggest that sleep studies should be part of the diagnostic screening for ADHD.
In May the Sleep Education Blog reported that sleep problems also are common in older children and teens with ADHD.
Learn more about sleep and ADHD.