Better Sleep Helps With ADHD; Medications Worsen Sleep

Rob Wipond
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“Sleep-focused treatment improves mood and quality of life in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” reports Psychiatric News, covering a presention by Dalhousie University researcher Penny Corkum at a meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.

Corkum said in the presentation that children with ADHD are two to three times more likely to have trouble sleeping and that has negative effects on them. “In research reported at the meeting, she and colleagues assessed sleep in 30 children newly diagnosed with ADHD and 30 age- and sex-matched typically developing controls,” reports Psychiatric News. “The children’s mean age was about 8.5. At baseline, children with ADHD took 47 minutes to fall asleep in the sleep laboratory, while controls took 24 minutes. Children with ADHD slept about 30 minutes less than controls.”

Corkum’s research team then experimented with the effects of both placebo and medications, reports Psychiatric News. “In a four-week medication trial, the researchers gave the 30 children with ADHD either a standard single daily morning dose of methylphenidate or a placebo, in random order for two weeks.” The children took longer to fall asleep and slept less when taking the stimulant than when taking the placebo; however, reports Psychiatric News, “parents and teachers said their behavior improved.”


Children With ADHD Benefit From Sleep-Focused Treatment
(Psychiatric News, September 19, 2014. DOI: 10.1176/appi.pn.2014.9a11)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Was the confounding variable of taking a stimulant medication accounted for in determining that children with “ADHD” may have sleep problems? Also, “avoiding television, computers, telephones, and other electronic devices” is recommended as part of treating ADHD by John Rosemond and Bose Ravenel in “The Diseasing of America’s Children.”

    • Why are our tax dollars paying for psychiatric studies of the blatantly obvious still? I thought the NIMH defunded research into the DSM disorders. Or maybe this study wasn’t funded with any government money (and no government insured patients)? Does anyone know for certain whether the US has actually stopped financing research into the DSM disorders yet?

  2. “ADHD” is such a joke, but a dangerous one. I am so pleased these heartless pharmaceutical companies and drug-pushing medicos hadn’t stumbled onto the “how to drug kids and make a fortune” cash cow when I was young. My whole school would have been drugged into insensibility. Looks like any kids with some character and get-up-and-go are on the hit list. CHILDHOOD IS NOT A MENTAL DISORDER. Look at history. Who do you admire for making good changes? I agree with Steve – sheep are quite “manageable” too, but not big in the ideas department.

  3. Your teenager wants to sleep later and now his doctor agrees. Middle and high school students shouldn’t have to start school until 8:30 in the morning or later, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

    “The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” says Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who led the team that wrote the group’s policy statement on the issue.

    Read more http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/let-them-sleep-docs-want-later-school-times-teens-n186976

    Thanks Dr. Owens !!!

      • Fiachra,

        I don’t think Seroquel has been approved for use in ADHD in children, although know it’s increasingly being prescribed off label for such uses.

        But, withdrawal from Seroquel can result in a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity “manic” episode and / or “psychosis.”

        After I was taken off antipsychotics, I personally slept well (at least 6 hours), but would wake up and dance for about an hour or two in the morning, I lost about 15 pounds. I suffered from symptoms of “mania.” Plus, depending on one’s definition of “psychosis” (is an awakening to one’s dreams actually “psychosis,” if one doesn’t personally confuse their dreams with their real life?) Irregardless, withdrawal from antipsychotics can cause an “altered state” at a minimum, as of course all psychotropics do.

        Truly, putting anyone, especially children, who isn’t suffering from a very serious and debilitating non-drug induced psychosis, on antipsychotics is an evil (and it should be a criminal) practice. But, since the antipsychotics cause a chemical imbalance that results in a “psychosis” like state, in those put on them who weren’t psychotic, perhaps they are helpful to those actually properly prescribed these dangerous drugs?

          • Although, that doesn’t fix the problem of doctors merely claiming the adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants, ADHD drugs, hypnotics, illicit drugs, etc. are a life long incurable “psychosis,” requiring antipsychotics.

            We really need more accurate information about the drugs getting to the medical community. And the medical community needs to get back in the business of wanting to help patients, not just blame them. What a shame the medical community has taken such an egocentric “white wall of silence” adversarial stance against the patient population.

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