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Sleeping Issues Linked to Attention Deficit Symptoms

Last Updated: April 30, 2009.

Short sleep duration or troubled sleep may make children more likely to exhibit behavioral symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to research published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Short sleep duration or troubled sleep may make children more likely to exhibit behavioral symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

E. Juulia Paavonen, M.D., of the University of Helsinki in Finland, and colleagues analyzed data from 280 children with a mean age of 8.1 years. Children wore wrist actigraphs continuously for seven days to assess sleep quality, and parents responded to a sleep disturbance questionnaire and an ADHD rating scale.

The authors found that short sleep duration in children and parent-reported sleeping difficulty were associated with a higher risk of behavioral symptoms of ADHD. In multivariate models, short sleep duration was a predictor of hyperactivity and impulsivity, and sleeping difficulties were associated with this outcome as well as inattention.

"We also showed that short sleep, per se, increases behavioral symptoms, regardless of the presence of sleeping difficulties. The findings suggest that maintaining adequate sleep schedules among children is likely to be important in preventing behavioral symptoms. Although inadequate sleep seems to contribute to impaired behavior and performance, intervention studies are needed to confirm the causality," the authors conclude.

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