Does ADHD affect sleep?

Yes, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can significantly affect sleep. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties in falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up in the morning. This is partly due to the fact that the symptoms of ADHD, such as restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty focusing, can make it challenging for the brain to wind down and transition into sleep. Additionally, many people with ADHD have a delayed sleep phase, meaning that their natural sleep-wake cycle is shifted later, causing them to feel more awake in the evening and have difficulty waking up early. Medications used to manage ADHD, especially stimulants, can also contribute to sleep disturbances. Furthermore, there is a higher prevalence of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, among individuals with ADHD. The resulting sleep deprivation can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break.

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ADHD symptoms, in a nutshell, are characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These include difficulty sustaining focus, being easily distracted, forgetfulness in daily activities, fidgeting, restlessness, difficulty remaining seated, impulsive decision-making, and difficulty waiting for one’s turn. ADHD symptoms can vary among individuals and are categorized into three types: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and Combined Presentation, which includes both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. It’s important to note that these symptoms must be present in multiple settings (e.g., at home and school/work) and cause significant impairment in daily functioning to be considered ADHD.

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