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J Sleep Res. 2004 Mar;13(1):87-93.

Is there a specific polysomnographic sleep pattern in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder?

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Institute of Physiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria.


The aim of the study was to characterize the sleep pattern in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). By means of polysomnography (PSG), sleep patterns were studied in 17 unmedicated preadolescent boys rigorously diagnosed with ADHD and 17 control boys precisely matched for age and intelligence. Although ADHD children did not display a general sleep alteration, major PSG data showed a significant increase in the duration of the absolute rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and the number of sleep cycles in ADHD group when compared with controls. In addition, REM sleep latency tended to be shorter in ADHD children. These results suggest that in ADHD children, a forced REM sleep initiation may produce a higher incidence of sleep cycles and may also contribute to an increased duration of the absolute REM sleep. The overall pattern of the findings implies that a forced ultradian cycling appears characteristic for the sleep in ADHD children, which may be related to alterations of brain monoamines and cortical inhibitory control accompanying the ADHD psychopathology.

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