Study objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the cumulative impact of 1 hour of nightly sleep restriction over the course of 6 nights on the neurobehavioral functioning (NBF) of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and healthy controls.
Design: Following 6 nights of actigraphic monitoring of sleep to determine baseline sleep duration, children were asked to restrict sleep duration by 1 hour for 6 consecutive nights. NBF was assessed at baseline (Day 6) and following sleep manipulation (Day 12).
Setting: A quiet location within their home environments.
Participants: Forty-three children (11 ADHD, 32 Controls, mean age = 8.7 years, SD = 1.3) between the ages of 7 and 11 years.
Measurements: Sleep was monitored using actigraphy. In addition, parents were asked to complete nightly sleep logs. Sleepiness was evaluated using a questionnaire. The Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT) was used to assess NBF.
Results: Restricted sleep led to poorer CPT scores on two-thirds of CPT outcome measures in both healthy controls and children with ADHD. The performance of children with ADHD following sleep restriction deteriorated from subclinical levels to the clinical range of inattention on two-thirds of CPT outcome measures.
Conclusions: Moderate sleep restriction leads to a detectable negative impact on the NBF of children with ADHD and healthy controls, leading to a clinical level of impairment in children with ADHD.
Keywords: ADHD; Continuous Performance Test; children; sleep restriction.