Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a term used to describe hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity. It’s a common condition that can begin in childhood. ADHD is linked with a variety of sleep problems, including:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Sleep-disordered breathing
- Restless leg syndrome
- Periodic leg movement syndrome
Children who are most affected by ADHD have behavior differences and strong emotions that can spill over into their everyday lives. When they fidget, quit paying attention, or simply get bored easily and often, these are indicative of an attention disorder.
The Symptoms of ADHD
These can appear in children as young as two years old. With proper behavioral management, however, you can work to regulate the symptoms over time. Here’s what to watch for as a parent of a young child who may be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
- Trouble staying on task or focusing
- Appearing not to listen
- Losing or forgetting things easily
- Excessive talking
- Being impatient and easily irritated
- Difficulty following directions
- Daydreaming often
- Problems organizing activities and responsibilities
Doctors can link most of the above symptoms to a lack of proper sleep. A child needs a full night’s rest to regenerate brain cells and recover from the previous day of learning and activity.
The Link Between Lack of Sleep and ADHD
Studies show that children or adults suffering from ADHD struggle at bedtime. The symptoms get worse with poor sleep quality. Because sleep disorders are common among adults and children with an attention disorder, the connection between the two is more prevalent with less sleep.
Adults and children respond differently to sleep apnea. That’s why sleep apnea is often difficult to diagnose in kids. When children aren’t sleeping enough, they can become more hyperactive. However, when adults lose sleep, they usually feel more fatigued and lack energy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does sleep apnea cause ADHD?
Studies have found that sleep-disordered breathing is generally the most common symptom of ADHD. OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea, can affect ADHD patients more and can cause attention deficit and hyperactivity in ADHD children.
These common symptoms, however, may not always indicate that a person with sleep apnea has ADHD or sleep apnea. It’s best to get a proper diagnosis to truly understand your condition and receive effective treatment.
Can Adderall help sleep apnea?
Adderall is an amphetamine, which typically wakes people up and makes them feel almost too energized. However, many ADHD patients use it to help calm their minds and organize their thoughts. While some people find this relaxing, it won’t affect sleep-disordered breathing.
Thankfully, you can find treatment with Dr. Huff to help you breathe clearly at night and make your ADHD treatment more effective.
How do I tell if my child has ADHD or sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea in children is commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD due to similarities in the presented symptoms. According to the American Sleep Association, about 25 percent of children in the United States have been misdiagnosed with ADHD. Monitoring your child’s symptoms and behavior is crucial for doctors to establish a proper diagnosis and get them the treatments they need.
Sleep apnea symptoms found in children diagnosed with ADHD may include:
- Behavioral problems
- Frequent bedwetting
- Night sweating
- Difficulty paying attention
Contact your child’s pediatrician if you suspect they are suffering from sleep apnea, as this condition may lead to developmental issues. They’ll likely schedule a sleep study to determine if your child has sleep apnea.
How many people are affected by ADHD?
In the United States, approximately five percent of adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. Because ADHD and sleep apnea symptoms are so similar, many of these adults may have been misdiagnosed. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to have both sleep apnea and ADHD. This neuro-behavioral condition can affect any adult regardless of gender or age and can continue throughout their life.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to manage sleep apnea symptoms in adults with ADHD. Visit our treatments page to learn more, or contact our Kerrville office at (830)-715-4484 to schedule an appointment if you feel you’ve been misdiagnosed with ADHD.
Do adults and children with ADHD and sleep apnea receive the same treatment methods?
For children, research suggests that removing their tonsils may help manage sleep apnea symptoms. However, adults and children alike have been known to benefit from a CPAP device or a custom oral appliance. Talk to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician to develop an effective treatment plan.
You Can Improve Your Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder. Getting a sleep apnea diagnosis can help you understand the link between the two conditions. These disorders may sometimes mask ADHD, especially in adults. As a result, we recommend mentioning all of your symptoms to your sleep specialist.
Dr. Huff at Precision Dentistry & Implants is a master at diagnosing sleep apnea. Throughout his years of training and education, he’s determined how to help our patients using a variety of sleep apnea treatments. Having a sleep disorder along with ADHD isn’t easy. Thankfully, with the right lifestyle modifications and treatment, our Kerrville, TX dentist can set you on a path to reducing your symptoms and achieving your most restful night ever.