Kids: Sleep Deprived and Hyper

Do children just need more sleep? There's a link between sleep and hyperactivity.

By PT Staff, published March 1, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Some children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may just be tired. According to research in the journal Pediatrics, some cases of ADHD stems from not getting a good night's rest. One quarter of 5- to 7-year-old children with the disease snored or suffered sleep apnea—a condition where breathing is blocked repeatedly while sleeping. Children who were treated for sleep apnea showed a complete or near complete disappearance of ADHD.

David Gozal, a professor at the University of Louisville, who led the study, also found that children who snored had a milder form of ADHD than those with sleep apnea.

Gozal is worried that children are being treated for ADHD far too quickly. As a consequence, sleep disorders are being overlooked. In fact, too many children are immediately given treatment for ADHD without regard to other treatments that may work more effectively.