Research shows that children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have trouble falling asleep, and have poor quality sleep.

This research is based on a Danish study out of Aarhus University and was published in the Journal of Sleep Research. Up to 70 percent of parents with kids who have ADHD report a history of sleeping problems when the children were infants. Sometimes the sleep problems persist right through childhood, and other times the child outgrows them.

According to Risskov, Anne Virring Sørensen, who led the research, "Our study will confirm what many parents have experienced, which is that children with ADHD take longer to fall asleep at night. With our measurements, we can also see that these children experience more disturbed sleep including less deep sleep. If you only look at length of sleep, children in the ADHD group sleep for 45 minutes less than children in the control group”.

Two out of three children with ADHD have also been diagnosed with one or more mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Those conditions can make it harder to sleep, but lack of sleep also predisposes a person to lowered mental health. The relationship goes both ways.

Just one bad night of sleep can make it significantly more difficult to focus on work, study and general daily tasks. Children who are chronically poor sleepers are more likely to fall behind at school and become frustrated. How well a person sleeps is largely a reflection of their brain health, as the brain produces neurotransmitters that regulate sleep onset and maintenance. Sugar, trans fats and highly processed foods that contain artificial additives are the brain’s enemies. Your brain requires the nutrients in vegetables, protein and healthy fats in order to function optimally.

Magnesium is a wonderfully calming mineral that helps to calm children down, make them more focused and improve sleep quality. For other suggestions on improving sleep, see my book.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.


Anne Virring, Rikke Lambek, Per H. Thomsen, Lene R. Møller, Poul J. Jennum. Disturbed sleep in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a question of psychiatric comorbidity or ADHD presentation. Journal of Sleep Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12377