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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 3;67:74-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Circadian rhythms and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: The what, the when and the why.

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Maynooth University Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Rostock, Germany.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental condition characterised by impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Aside from these core psychopathologies, sleep disturbances are found to be highly comorbid with ADHD, and indeed dysregulated sleep may contribute to some of the symptoms of the disorder. It is not clear how sleep disturbances come to be so common in ADHD, but one putative mechanism is through the circadian timekeeping system. This system underpins the generation of near 24-hour rhythms in a host of physiological, behavioural and psychological parameters, and is a key determinant of the sleep/wake cycle. In this paper we review the evidence for sleep and circadian rhythm disturbance in ADHD, examine the possible mechanistic links between these factors and the disorder and discuss future directions through which the circadian clock can be targetted for ADHD symptom relief.


ADHD; Circadian; Sleep

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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