Does ADHD Cause Sleep Problems?


"I'm 14 years old and have trouble sleeping at night. It's starting to interfere with my performance in school. Is this caused by my ADHD?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Some children and teens with ADHD have difficulty going to sleep at night because they "can't turn their head off." They are fidgety and active in bed. They hear every sound in the house and can't ignore these sounds. For these people, using a medication like Ritalin, Dexedrine, or Adderall at night might be a great help in getting to sleep. (Yes, everyone thinks these medications cause sleep problems. However, when ADHD prevents you from going to sleep, being on these medications counteracts those symptoms.)

If this is not the answer, ask your parents to discuss your problem with your family doctor or a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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