Sleep disturbances in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Expert Rev Neurother. 2011 Apr;11(4):565-77. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.7.


In this article, we advocate the need for better understanding and treatment of children exhibiting inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive behaviors, by in-depth questioning on sleepiness, sleep-disordered breathing or problematic behaviors at bedtime, during the night and upon awakening, as well as night-to-night sleep duration variability. The relationships between sleep and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are complex and are routinely overlooked by practitioners. Motricity and somnolence, the most consistent complaints and objectively measured sleep problems in children with ADHD, may develop as a consequence of multidirectional and multifactorial pathways. Therefore, subjectively perceived or reported restless sleep should be evaluated with specific attention to restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder, and awakenings should be queried with regard to parasomnias, dyssomnias and sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep hygiene logs detailing sleep onset and offset quantitatively, as well as qualitatively, are required. More studies in children with ADHD are needed to reveal the 24-h phenotype, or its sleep comorbidities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / classification*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / pathology