disagree on whether commonly prescribed stimulant medications for
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affect how well children sleep.
Findings of a meta-analysis to be published in the December 2015 issue of Pediatrics
(published online Nov. 23), however, suggest the medications may reduce the
quantity and quality of sleep for many of the estimated 3.5 million U.S. kids
taking ADHD medication. As described in “Stimulant Medications and Sleep for Youth with ADHD: A Meta-analysis
,” researchers pooled and analyzed data from
several previous studies that, individually, showed contradictory findings.
Some concluded the stimulants cause insomnia, while others suggested the
medications may improve sleep by reducing bedtime-resistant behavior. The new
study determined that, overall, stimulant medications cause children to
have more trouble falling and staying asleep. Lead author Katherine M. Kidwell,
a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska, urged
pediatricians to monitor sleep disturbances of children taking the medication
so they can adjust timing of doses or provide referrals for behavioral
treatment of ADHD. She said parents can help children sleep by encouraging
nightly routines such as bedtime stories.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds.