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Types of Sleep Disorders:

ADHD-Related Sleep Problems


ADHD-Related Sleep Problems
Information from “Sleep Disorders and ADHD" (Ch. 13) in Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day by Dr. Robert Rosenberg

The estimated percentage of children and adolescents in the United States diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is 5.9% to 7.1%, and the numbers continue to rise. Symptoms often continue into adulthood.

Sometimes these symptoms persist because there is a significant, deeper issue at play. Many kids and adults with ADHD have an underlying sleep disorder, which can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Conversely, some children and adults are misdiagnosed with ADHD when the cause of their symptoms is an untreated sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), or inadequate sleep.

ADHD-related sleep problems symptoms Symptoms
People with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms experience:

  • difficulty paying attention or staying focused
  • impulsiveness or difficulty controlling behavior
  • difficulty controlling mood
  • hyperactivity

For children with ADHD, the most common sleep problems and disorders are:

  • higher daytime sleepiness
  • more movements in sleep
  • trouble falling asleep
  • difficulties awakening
  • restless legs syndrome
  • sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and sleep hypoapnea, which is a partial obstruction to breathing that results in at least a 3% drop in oxygen saturation

Adolescents and adults with ADHD are very restless sleepers and commonly experience the following sleep problems:

  • insomnia
  • restlessness – kicking, tossing, turning, etc.
  • difficulty waking as a chronic problem, even if they felt like they had a good night’s sleep
  • sleep apnea

ADHD-related sleep problems dangers Dangers of Sleep Problems Related to ADHD
In a vicious cycle, sleep problems aggravate ADHD symptoms, and ADHD behaviors—especially in children—can reinforce sleep issues. The good news is that when the sleep disorders received treatment, the ADHD symptoms improved.

ADHD-related sleep problems treatments Treatments
Treatment options for ADHD-related sleep disorders will depend on the specific symptoms experienced. For example, people who have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep might want to learn and practice better sleep hygiene, whereas someone who snores might want to consider talking to a sleep specialist about the possibility that they have sleep apnea.

The important thing is to get to the bottom of the specific sleep disorder or problem. Once it is solved, there is a good chance that ADHD symptoms will decrease.



Sleep Soundly Every Night by Dr. Robert Rosenberg

Learn More

If you are concerned that you may have a sleep disorder or ADHD, talk to your doctor.

To learn more about ADHD-related sleep problems and other disorders that might be disrupting your sleep, order Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day by specialist Dr. Robert Rosenberg.

You can also learn more by reading Dr. Rosenberg’s articles:

ADHD-Related Sleep Problems

General Sleep Hygiene




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