Could lack of sleep be a cause of ADHD?

Little boy hiding behind a piece of paper.

Over the past two decades, parents and teachers have reported increasing numbers of children with trouble focusing, impulsive behavior and high energy. Researchers have looked at genetics, brain development, the push for early academics and many other factors for a cause.

However, growing evidence suggests that a segment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are misdiagnosed. They may actually suffer from insufficient sleep, insomnia, obstructed breathing or another sleep disorder. William PelhamCenter for Children and Families director, agrees – to an extent – with this latest study.

Pelham told Sentinel Source: “Sleep is an issue… any [time] you are trying to measure attention, but I don’t believe it accounts for the vast majority of ADHD in the U.S.”

Although he has also noticed an increasing number of children with ADHD and sleep issues in recent years, Pelham believes the spike in sleeplessness has less to do with the nature of ADHD and more to do with changes driven by the pharmaceutical industry.

Regardless, researchers in the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that all children ages three to five get 10 to 13 hours of sleep.

This article first appeared in Sentinel Source on June 5, 2019.