Categories
Archives

The link between ADHD/ADD and Sleep!

Many parents have observed a correlation between over-tiredness and hyperactivity in their young children. What I recently learned and may come as a surprise to many parents out there is how significant an impact poor sleep can have on a child’s behavior and ability to function in school.

At a Pediatric conference I recently attended, one of the speakers was a pediatric sleep specialist. She commented that nearly every child that does a sleep lab study at her clinic is diagnosed with a respiratory sleep disorder (obstructive sleep apnea is an example of the one of the most severe respiratory sleep disorders). For children, a common treatment for snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea is surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids. In one study, it was observed that 80% of the children who had surgeries to correct a respiratory sleep disorder who were also on medications for Attention Deficit (and Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD) were completely cured of the ADD/ADHD symptoms and no longer needed their medications after the surgery. That is remarkable evidence that poor sleep (and oxygen deprivation) may cause symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children (and probably adults too)!

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I would hardly go around recommending tonsilectomies to every child who has ADD/ADHD symptoms, but I can work with patients on addressing the root cause of the sleep disorder through other means. Dietary intolerances are perhaps the common denominator–leading to the enlarged tonsils and adenoids that obstruct the airway at night and eventually cause behavior problems and attention deficits. Remove the offending food(s), and the child can avoid surgery and also avoid a misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD or eliminate the need for medications if previously diagnosed.

I, myself, as well as colleagues have observed first hand the remarkable changes that can happen when a patient eliminates a problem food from their diet. In children, the top offenders tend to be dairy and wheat. In my clinical experience, dairy consumption is very strongly correlated with both enlarged tonsils and ADD/ADHD symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors are well versed in helping patients identify and eliminate foods that may cause symptoms and in some cases, can help patients get back on the right track so that the food can be reintroduced without causing problems. Some children even outgrow food sensitivities (or at least the effects aren’t as severe) after a few years.

If your child suffers from behavior issues, attention deficits, seems tired or groggy more than usual in the mornings, or is hyperactive, consider consulting a Naturopathic Doctor for treatment. At the very least, you should talk to your child’s healthcare provider about sleep and discuss options for diagnosing and treating an underlying sleep disorder.

If you are live in the Puget Sound area, you may visit my clinic website for more information about my practice: www.snovalleyholistic.com

If you live in Washington State outside of the Puget Sound, you can find a naturopathic doctor in your area by visiting the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ website: www.wanp.org

If you live outside of Washington State, visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ website to find a Naturopath in your area: www.naturopathic.org

Post to Twitter

5 Responses to “The link between ADHD/ADD and Sleep!”

  • Thanks. My husband and oldest daughter have enlarged tonsils, but without sleep problems. I have encouraged them both to give up dairy… they have some, but not completely. We are actually trying the blood type diet, which discourages dairy intake for type O, which all 6 of us are. We will see how it goes. Things have already gotten better. Thanks for the article, Dr. Bowker.

  • Sleep Apnea is really annoying and sometimes it is an indication of another disease in the body.

  • Regina:

    Thanks. My husband and oldest daughter have enlarged tonsils, but without sleep problems. I have encouraged them both to give up dairy… they have some, but not completely. We are actually trying the blood type diet, which discourages dairy intake for type O, which all 6 of us are. We will see how it goes. Things have already gotten better. Thanks for the article, Dr. Bowker.

  • Great article. I think parents put their kids on ADHD medication without first thinking about the consequences. These drugs cause major insomnia!

  • References:

    Behavior, cognition, and quality of life after adenotonsillectomy for pediatric sleep-disordered breathing: summary of the literature.

    Garetz SL.

    Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Jan;138(1 Suppl):S19-26. Review.
    PMID: 18164375 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Improved behavior and sleep after adenotonsillectomy in children with sleep-disordered breathing.

    Wei JL, Mayo MS, Smith HJ, Reese M, Weatherly RA.

    Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Oct;133(10):974-9.
    PMID: 17938319 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Leave a Reply

Find this info useful? Show your appreciation by donating!
Keep me writing!
Navigation
Calendar
July 2018
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031