Adolescents with ADHD: More ZZZ, More A?

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Parents of teens know firsthand that they don’t always have the best sleep habits, which makes some mornings a nightmare. Sleep deprivation can also have an additional impact on children with ADHD. Coming up, how parents can help teens improve important sleep habits.

Adolescents have notoriously erratic sleep behaviors. They are woken up late at night and it is difficult to wake them up when the alarm goes off the next morning. And for teens with ADHD, research suggests that quality sleep may also be harder to come by. We have more information on what parents can do to help their children rest and start their school day.

Ever since Emma Krabbe was little, her parents noticed that she had trouble sleeping no matter what they tried.

“She was asleep, but then she would wake up and get up at one, two, three,” said Denise Krabbe, Emma’s mom.

Sometimes during the school day Emma was sleepy and couldn’t concentrate.

“Like your brain wants to shut down and it doesn’t want to receive any more information,” Emma said.

Additionally, Emma was diagnosed with ADHD.

“We’ve found that teens with ADHD have two to three times more difficulty with sleeping problems,” said Stephen Becker, PhD, clinical psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Becker and his colleagues conducted a study in which they recruited 300 students, half with ADHD, half without. Twenty percent of teens with ADHD slept less than seven hours on school nights, compared to 10 percent of students without ADHD. The study also found that lack of sleep was associated with lower scores on the standardized math tests the next day for all students, with or without ADHD. Becker says it’s important for parents to help their teens develop healthy sleep habits. To start, encourage them to use their beds only for sleeping.

“The brain starts to associate the bed with sleep and homework and chatting with your friends and all that stuff. And we really want the brain to associate bed with sleep, ”Becker said.

Remind teens to establish bedtime routines.

“Pajamas, teeth, bathroom, then lie down.” It’s pretty simple, but it’s effective honestly, since my brain will recognize this pattern and realize it’s time to stop, ”Emma said.

For Emma, ​​it works. Most nights she sleeps well.

“Fabulous. I love her. She’s a rock star now,” smiles Denise.

Becker says teachers should also be aware that sleeping adolescents may benefit from an intervention.

“If teachers notice their teenager falling asleep in class, it’s not necessarily because the teenager is bored or unmotivated, it often isn’t. There may be underlying sleep difficulties, or insufficient or insufficient sleep. And I think this is mentioned to the caregiver and the

parent and thinking, “Hey, have you ever noticed sleep issues or is that something you might want to talk to your pediatrician or other professional about?” Becker continued.

Help turn a good night’s sleep into a more productive school day.

Teens with ADHD who have trouble with homework may also stay awake later to complete homework, so education scientists say parents should be encouraged to work with students and their teachers on strategies. more effective homework.

Contributors to this story include: Cyndy McGrath, executive producer; Milvionne Chery, producer in the field; and Roque Correa, editor-in-chief.

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