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Lack of Sleep and the Effect on an ADHD Teen

Sleep is a vital component to life, and when we do not get enough it impacts our body. However, what are the effects on individuals with ADHD?

Teen SleepingRecently a study looked at How Sleep Duration Affects Daytime Function in Teens with ADHD; stating insufficient sleep may cause impairments in daytime function among teenagers with ADHD. This information is provided according to findings from a crossover sleep restriction/extension study.

Stephen P. Becker, Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a 3-week sleep protocol study with youth ages 14-17; the protocol had a stabilization week, one week of sleep restriction (6.5 hours) and one-week sleep extension (9.5 hours). This study was done to investigate whether sleep duration was casually associated with sleepiness, inattention, and behavioral function in teens with ADHD. Sleep was monitored with actigraphy and daily sleep diaries and a laboratory visit were conducted.

On average the 48 participates experienced 1.6 hours more sleep nightly during the sleep extension period than during the sleep restriction period.  The study found that during sleep restriction, participants experienced greater measured sleep efficiency, shorter diary reporting, greater difficulty waking, greater daytime sleepiness and more likely to report napping compared to the sleep extension week. Parents also reported greater inattention and oppositional behaviors during sleep restriction, as well as, greater sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms.

Dr. Becker states; “Our findings have potentially important implications for the treatment of adolescents with ADHD. If shortened sleep duration worsens daytime functioning, then the flip side of the coin is that extended sleep duration improves daytime functioning."

Sufficient sleep is an important factor in controlling symptoms of ADHD . Play Attention can be used in conjunction with the other intervention steps like increased sleep to help improve attention, behavior, and executive function.