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Sleep Issues and ADHD

ADHD and Sleep Disorders

Does ADHD cause sleep disorders, or do sleep disorders cause ADHD.  My son has always been sleep “sensitive” and we are waiting for his results on an in home sleep study.  He also still has troubles with bed wetting in the night, and he is almost 9 years old.  I have heard that sleep apnea can result in ADHD, and that there are studies where tonsils have been removed and ADHD has resolved.  I have also heard that pasteurized cow’s milk is toxic and causes swollen tonsils, resulting in sleep disturbance.  If my son goes to bed even an hour later, he will still wake up at the same time (early) or earlier, his hyperactivity is increased and his listening skills are more diminished.  In other words, his ADHD symptoms have always been worse with lack of sleep.  I would appreciate anyhelpful information you can give me.  I wish I could “crack” the code, and improve my child’s health and success.  After all, we all want what is best for our children. Thanks, Shelley


Dear Shelley,
    I have ADHD and insomnia. No two patients will ever have the same ADHD. A structued environment seems to work best for me. Light actually is harmfull to our biorythens, especially blue light. It breaks down the melitonin we naturally produce. One thing I love to do,is go camping alone where there is no artificial light and I only use the light from my camp fire. After a few days, my body gets tired when the sun goes down and I am alert when the sun rises the next morning. Its one way how I re-charge my batteries.

Posted by Isp75016 on Sep 01, 2014 at 5:55am

I think ADHD and sleep issues are often present together, but I don’t think that one “causes” the other. There are many strategies to implement to try to help your son sleep:

Being over-tired is hard on anyone’s brain function, ADHD only makes that worse.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Sep 02, 2014 at 4:06pm

I never heard of in home sleep study.  How does that work?

Posted by joetony on Sep 04, 2014 at 1:22am

Hi Shelley,

ADHD DEFINITELY can be a primary cause of sleep disturbance.

I had crap sleep until I was 49 years old.  I had no ability to fall asleep on my own.  I took melatonin for over 20 years to get to sleep.  I never stayed asleep waking after 3-4 hours every single night. You can imagine by age 49 I almost lost my mind from sleep deprivation.

I found out that sometimes a chemical imbalance of the brain, often found with ADHD, puts the emotions in overdrive.  That part of the brain never relaxes causes the imbalance.  It also validated my reality that I ran on a motor that never stopped, making deep restorative sleep impossible.

I was diagnosed with ADHD at 49 and put on Ritalin.  Within one week. I fell asleep on my own and got deep restorative sleep for the first time in my life.  I knew for a fact that I never had control over my body before then and with the right medication I could be restored to some normalcy.

It has been over 2 years and I still get deep sleep.  I still occasionally wake up at night but that is fine.  First with medication and then Neurofeedback, I no longer have a sleep disorder.

Good luck to you and finding answers for your child.  Sleep deprivation is a serious medical condition.  To be free from it now at 51 is heaven.


Posted by Mainer on Sep 04, 2014 at 1:43am

I really would like to have sleep study but can’t afford it.  I never feel rested.

Posted by joetony on Sep 04, 2014 at 11:51am

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