Sleep disorders in patients with ADHD: impact and management challenges

Nat Sci Sleep. 2018 Dec 14:10:453-480. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S163074. eCollection 2018.


Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in childhood, enduring through adolescence and adulthood and presenting with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity and significantly impairing functioning. Primary sleep disorders such as sleep-disordered breathing, restless leg syndrome, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, insomnia, and narcolepsy are commonly comorbid in these individuals but not often assessed and are therefore often left untreated. Sleep disturbances in individuals with ADHD can result in significant functional impairments that affect mood, attention, behavior, and ultimately school/work performance and quality of life. Previous reviews have described findings related to sleep but have neglected to examine potential impacts of these sleep disorders and ADHD on daytime functioning. This review investigates empirical findings pertaining to sleep abnormalities and related cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and physical impairments in individuals with ADHD and comorbid primary sleep disorders across the life span. It discusses implications to management and highlights existing limitations and recommended future directions.

Keywords: ADHD; circadian rhythm sleep disorders; impairments; insomnia; narcolepsy; restless leg syndrome; sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Review