Adhd and Sleep Patterns

Category: Sleep
Last Updated: 28 Feb 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 95

The purpose of this research is to explore the sleep patterns of children with ADHD symptoms that have been reported by parents. The hypothesis according to O’Brien et al. (2003, p. 334) is that “domains of neurobehavioral function would be selectively affected by sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). ” The null hypothesis according to this research is that multiple sleep disorders are more relevant in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, symptoms.

Some of the disorders are: obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, spontaneous arousals, rapid eye movement, and periodic limb movements. Data Collection The data used for this research was collected by O’Brien et al. (2003) using various methods. Questionnaires were distributed to the parents who were enrolling children into first grade.

Out of the 11,983 surveys distributed, a total of 5,728 usable responses were available to sample, a total of 47.6%. From these samples, the researchers found that 11% of the children were reported snore often, and 7.3% of those children who snored were reported by parents to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. O’Brien et al. (2003) selected 83 children whose parents had reported them to show symptoms of ADHD to receive a sleep evaluation in a medical center, along with a control sample of 34 children with no reported signs of ADHD.

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After conducting the sleep tests, O’Brien et al. (2003) reported that 5% of “children with significant ADHD symptoms, and 7% of children with mild symptoms” (p. 57) had high periodic limb movements. It was also found that rapid eye movement was more prevalent in the high-symptom ADHD group. According to the study, “5% of children with significant ADHD symptoms, and 26% of those with mild symptoms” had indications of sleep apnea (O’Brien, 2003, p. 554).


According to research, children with many ADHD symptoms are no more at risk for rapid eye movement during sleep than children with no ADHD symptoms.

Research also confirms that children with ADHD symptoms have a higher risk for other sleep disorders. This research cannot confirm that children with ADHD have higher rates of periodic limb movement. O’Brien et al. states “an unusually high prevalence of OSA was found” in children with ADHD (p. 561). O’Brien et al. (2003) rejected the null hypothesis of children with ADHD having a higher risk of all possible sleep disorders. Research has validated that children with ADHD have a higher risk of some sleep disorders but not all.

More studies need to be done on children who have been medically diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to evaluate any sleep disorders better.


  • O'Brien, L., Holbrook, C., Klaus, C., Bruner, J., Wang, M., Tuell, A., et al. (2003). Sleep and Neurobehavioral Characteristics of 5- to 7-Year-Old Children With Parentally Reported Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics, 111(3), 554. Retrieved from the Academic Search Complete database.

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Adhd and Sleep Patterns. (2018, Feb 19). Retrieved from

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