The Sleep-Hyperactivity Connection
By Marci Lewellen on March 22nd, 2010

I have worked with thousands of young children who have problems with hyperactivity. One of the questions I typically ask their parents is, “How much sleep does the child get each night?”

In many cases, I find that these young children are not getting adequate sleep, which can worsen their hyperactivity. In addition, being hyperactive or having ADD can sometimes cause sleep disturbances.

I have found that when these children get an adequate amount of restful sleep, it can diminish symptoms of hyperactivity.

A new study confirms what I have seen in my own practice. A research team including Canadian, French, and Irish researchers studied data from the mothers of 2,057 children aged from 18 months old to five years old and found a link between hyperactivity and lack of sleep. In particular, the connection was strongest among boys.

In this study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers found that children who regularly slept at least 11 hours a night had a low incidence of hyperactivity.

How much sleep do children really need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, here are the requirements:

Age Range

1-3 years old                         12-14 hours of sleep

3-5 years old                         11-13 hours of sleep

5-12 years old                     10-11 hours of sleep

13-19 years old                   9 hours of sleep

Article written by Dr. Amen

March 22nd, 2010

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