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Moderate sleep loss impairs vigilance and sustained attention in children with ADHD
Date:3/1/2011

DARIEN, IL A new study in the March 1 issue of the journal Sleep indicates that the ability of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to remain vigilant and attentive deteriorated significantly after losing less than one hour of nightly sleep for a week. The study suggests that even moderate reductions in sleep duration can affect neurobehavioral functioning, which may have a negative impact on the academic performance of children with ADHD.

Results of multivariate analyses of variance show that after mean nightly sleep loss of about 55 minutes for six nights, the performance of children with ADHD on a neurobehavioral test deteriorated from the subclinical range to the clinical range of inattention on four of six measures, including omission errors (missed targets) and reaction time. Children with ADHD generally committed more omission errors than controls. Although the performance of children in the control group also deteriorated after mean nightly sleep loss of 34 minutes for six nights, it did not reach a clinical level of inattention on any of the six measures.

"Moderate sleep restriction leads to a detectable negative impact on the neurobehavioral functioning of children with ADHD and healthy controls, leading to a clinical level of impairment in children with ADHD," said lead author and principal investigator Reut Gruber, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University and director of the Attention, Behavior and Sleep Laboratory at Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal, Qubec.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

The study involved 43 children, 11 with ADHD and 32
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700 x9345
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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