In a recent experiment, a group of 50 children with ADHD were put into a room with 50 sleep deprived children. Then a group of experts – some behavioral experts and some sleep experts – were put into the room and asked to identify which children had ADHD and which simply needed some sleep.
Overall, the experts did very poorly. According to sleep specialist Dr. Chris Seton, “A tired five year old and a five year old with ADHD can both act in the same way”.
If you are the parent of a child with ADHD, you know how important sleep can be. A lack of sleep can make ADHD symptoms worse, and as the study suggests, perhaps even mirror ADHD behavior.
ADDers can have trouble getting to sleep because it’s difficult to “turn off” your brain long enough to relax and get to sleep. And once they’ve gotten to sleep, it can be hard for them to transition back to a waking state.
In addition, Dr. Seton says that modern technology has greatly impacted the sleep patterns of teens. A recent study showed that 45% of American teens were using their cell phones as late as 3:00 am in order to send and receive text messages.
According to Dr. Seton, the best indication of whether or not you have had enough sleep is that you awaken spontaneously without the use of an alarm clock. He also says that teens need about 9 or 10 hours of sleep per night, while younger aged kids can need as much as 9 – 11 hours each night.
Based on my own observations, it seems that way too many of us are sleep deprived by Dr. Seton’s standards. It’s something you may want to consider in the overall picture of ADHD.