Struggling Teens, ADHD and Sleep The Aug…

Struggling Teens, ADHD and Sleep
The August 2009 issue of Clinician’s Research Digest reports on an interesting study that appeared in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology (34,328-337) by researchers Mayes, Calhoun, BIxler, Vgontzas, , Mahr, et al. The purpose of the study was to evaluate differences in the frequency and types of sleep problems in children with ADHD and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression and oppositional defiant disorder. The study reinforced the importance of attending to children’s sleep patterns, particularly in children with a diagnosis of ADHD-combined or ADHD-inattentive, anxiety or depression. There may be a tendency to focus on treating behavioral issues or changing maladaptive cognitions; however it may be equally important to simultaneously address sleep problems. Treatment may need to include the development of good sleep hygiene including strategies to assist with relaxation prior to going to bed and falling back to sleep after awakening in the night.
Although on some level the results are common sense, but those who work with teens diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder or other emotional disorders know that adherence to bed time routine presents real challenges, often resulting in reduced sleep and disrupted sleep routines. At the therapeutic boarding school I work at, all students follow a regular routine of scheduled bed time, preceded by activities that promote relaxation and meditation. Additionally, creating an environment that is conducive for sleep in congregate living arrangements can be challenging, but is important to ensure that everyone sleeping in proximity with one another is in fact, preparing to fall sleep. We have found that helping teens get a good night’s sleep is an important part of the overall therapeutic process.

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2 Responses to Struggling Teens, ADHD and Sleep The Aug…

  1. Lon Woodbury says:

    Hi Jeff:
    Good to see you getting your blog active.
    Interesting article relating to sleep problems. You think it might relate to my periodic insomnia?

  2. Devora says:

    Hi there,
    I am a parent of a teen girl, 15 years old. She is struggling with sleep issues, eating issues and a lot of anger. I agree that if all these things were in balance she would be much better off. The problem is getting the child to choose to take the action and the better habits. Any suggestions?

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