What if doctors, before diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in their patients, had to find evidence of sleep disorders? What if prior to prescribing medications, we corrected those sleep disorders?  A.D.H.D. can be diagnosed only by a psychiatrist.  The diagnosis is accepted, since everything they have read identifies A.D.H.D. as the culprit.

A sleep study to evaluate the patient’s quality of sleep can determine any related symptoms which may be presenting as A.D.H.D. Once patients (or parents) see the results of their sleep studies, they can see clearly there is a sleep issue contributing to their symptoms, including cognitive lethargy and difficulty focusing, bed wetting, aggression, depression, academic challenges and anxiety.

If left untreated, hypertension and coronary issues may evolve. Getting the proper amount of delta sleep (deep rejuvenating sleep) each night can greatly reduce these symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 11% of school-age children have now received a diagnosis of the condition. But what if a substantial proportion of cases are really sleep disorders in disguise?

Sleep deprivation, especially children, does not necessarily cause lethargy; instead they become hyperactive and unfocused. Researchers and reporters are increasingly seeing connections between dysfunctional sleep and what looks like A.D.H.D., but those links are not quite understood.

We all get less sleep than we used to.  Sleep is even more crucial for children, who need the deep, rejuvenating kind for proper growth and development. Today’s youngsters sleep an hour less than they did a hundred years ago. And for all ages, contemporary daytime activities, marked by nonstop 14-hour schedules and inescapable melatonin-inhibiting iDevices often impair sleep.

A number of studies show a huge proportion of children with an A.D.H.D. also have sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea or snoring, restless leg syndrome or non-restorative sleep, in which delta sleep is frequently interrupted. There is more going on in the nocturnal lives of our children than anyone has realized. Typically, we see and diagnose only daytime symptoms.

Sleep dysfunction in adults with A.D.H.D. closely mimics the sleep dysfunction in children with A.D.H.D. There is also some promising research being done on sleep in adults, relating to focus, memory and cognitive performance.

Attention-deficit problems are far from the only reasons to take our lack of quality sleep seriously. Laboratory animals die when they are deprived of delta sleep. Chronic delta sleep deficits in humans are implicated in many diseases, including depression, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, chronic pain, diabetes and cancer, not to mention thousands of fatigue-related car accidents each year. But we can’t wait any longer to pay attention to the connection between delta sleep and A.D.H.D.

For more information, call Sunshine Dentistry at 609-465-5415 or visit online at mysunshinedentistry.com.

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