Sleep and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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A growing number of studies have addressed the prevalence of sleep problems among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As the major symptoms of ADHD (i.e., inattention, impulsiveness, and restlessness) are also characteristic of sleep deprivation, the role of sleep in ADHD is the focus of many investigations. Parental reports of sleep disturbances are common in children with ADHD (18), and as such they were so widely presumed to be an intrinsic part of the clinical phenotype of ADHD that sleep problems were included as one of the previous Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (DSM-III) diagnostic criteria for ADHD (9). However, none of the more recent diagnostic manuals (10,11) have included sleep disturbance as a symptomatic criterion for ADHD. Therefore, because parental perception of sleep disturbance helped to define ADHD previously, it is not surprising that studies using earlier diagnostic criteria found a significant association between ADHD and sleep problems.