ADHD and Sleep

Three-quarters of children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also have sleep issues. In the past, these were treated as unrelated conditions.

In a presentation to the ECNP Conference in Paris, Professor Sandra Kooij (Associate Professor of Psychiatry at VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam and founder and chair of the European Network Adult ADHD) said:

“There is extensive research showing that people with ADHD also tend to exhibit sleep problems. What we are doing here is taking this association to the next logical step: pulling all the work together leads us to say that, based on existing evidence, it looks very much like ADHD and circadian problems are intertwined in the majority of patients.

“We believe this because the day and night rhythm is disturbed, the timing of several physical processes is disturbed, not only of sleep, but also of temperature, movement patterns, timing of meals, and so on.

“If you review the evidence, it looks more and more like ADHD and sleeplessness are 2 sides of the same physiological and mental coin.”(1)

An independent commentator at the presentation suggested that interruption of circadian rhythms might also be linked to depression and bipolar disorder.

This suggestions that the creation and maintenance of regular sleep patterns may be critical to mental health and productivity. Since, apart from the aggravation of changing habits, there is no risk or cost to building and maintaining regular sleep patterns, you might as well do it.


  1. European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. “Is ADHD really a sleep problem?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2017. <>.
  2. National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “Why is Sleep Important?”
  3. Harvard Medical School, “Benefits of Sleep,”

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