Send to

Choose Destination

Sleep disturbances in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Author information

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada.



To evaluate the relationship between sleep disturbances and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Empirical research published since 1970 on sleep disturbances in children with ADHD was systematically reviewed. A "box-score" approach was used to examine consistency of findings across the studies, which used different outcome measures.


Although subjective accounts of sleep disturbances in ADHD were prevalent, objective verification of these disturbances was less robust. The only consistent objective findings were that children with ADHD displayed more movements during sleep but did not differ from normal controls in total sleep time. An additional finding was that stimulant medication led to changes in the children's sleep (e.g., prolonged sleep latency, increased length of onset to first rapid eye movement cycle), but these changes were believed to be nonpathological.


The exact nature of the sleep problems in children with ADHD remains to be determined. Many of the relevant issues have not been adequately addressed. Factors such as poorly defined diagnostic groups, small sample sizes, few studies, and methodological and procedural limitations make it difficult to determine the relationship between ADHD and sleep problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center