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Irregular sleep patterns linked to ADHD-like symptoms, says study

56568345Parents who allow their children to sleep whenever they like with no regular sleeping pattern could be leaving their kids open to symptoms not unlike those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to new research.

In a study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy (September 15th), researchers found that children between the ages of two and 13 who didn’t have a set bedtime each night were eight times more likely to exhibit ADHD-like symptoms than counterparts who woke up and went to bed at a similar time each day.

However, researchers stressed the importance of the correct identification of symptoms of ADHD and not simply symptoms that are similar to those of the condition, before administering medication for ADHD in these cases where necessary. As it stands, more than five million youngsters are being treated with ADHD medication, even though they may not actually have the disorder.

Dr Robert M Pressman, lead researcher of the study, urged parents, therapists and paediatricians to consider all other options before turning to the medication route. He said: “Bedtime habits must be reviewed at intake and bedtime problems explored before ADHD medication is considered.”

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