Friday, September 30, 2005

Don't Confuse Sleepless Nights With ADHD!

According to various studies, some symptoms that characterize ADHD often overlap with the types of problems that occur due to lack of sleep. Although doctors can usually separate the two, mood and behavior changes caused by lack of sleep might sometimes be mistaken for ADHD.

Dr. Owens, a pediatrician at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, feels that "In the back of everyone's mind should be whether these symptoms are related to sleep problems." He gives a few tips on how to tell if it's a sleep disorder. First, sleeping excessively during the day is often the clearest indication. Next, snoring is another sign. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that loud snoring was a precursor for children to end up with hyperactivity several years later. After several nights of sleep apnea, children start to exhibit signs of hyperactivity.

Trying to distinguish the two is still very difficult because there is a chance that ADHD interfers with sleep as well. Studies suggest kids with ADHD are sleepier than healthier ones. This is partly due to the fact that their overactive minds prevent a sound nights sleep.

Regardless of the cause, sleep problems can lead to irritability, lack of focus, and trouble in school. And if your child does have ADHD, most stimulant medications can make matters worse. According to the FDA, children still complain of tiredness and irritability after taking Strattera, a medicine that is less likely to interfere with sleep than Ritalin.

Whether it's ADHD or sleep apnea, there are steps you can take to help your child get a good nights sleep. Dr. Owens recommends that there be a regular bedtime, no caffeine or running around before bed, and having a relaxing bedtime ritual like reading, instead of TV.

1 comment:

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