The connection between Sleep Apnea and Attention Deficient Disorder and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD and ADHD)

Everyone knows sleepy people have trouble paying attention and tired children get more and more wired and harder to sooth. You would think common sense would have noticed the connection between sleep apnea and ADD and ADHD sooner. But who says Medical science consists of common sense. Well, they finally figured it out! Its about time!

But there is more to it than that unfortunately. Sleep apnea can result in lack of oxigen to the brain and stress, and both can damage the brain. So, if you suspect your child has sleep apnea get him or her tested immediately. Don’t take your child’s Pediatrician’s word for it if he or she takes this lightly. That happened in my family with tragic consequences.

Another thing to watch out for is sleep apnea that occurs at home but not in the hospital clean sleep clinic because of allergies at home stopping up the nose and causing breathing difficulties. The best way to test for this would be the newly invented sleep strip also known as the sleep mustache” Unfortunately many sleep clinics are not up to date on information about this. Its up to parents to push, always, when they end up knowing more than their doctors because they have more time to do research than busy doctors do on current discoveries and new inventions.

Other reasons for sleep deprivation in kid and adults

In some folks, non-full-spectrum fluorescents throw off their circadian rhythm. Their pineal gland interprets the fluorescents as being in darkness. If they are under non-full-spectrum fluorescents all day, as far as their brains are concerned, they think they should be asleep. When they get home & get a few hours of sunlight, they finally start waking up at the time they are supposed to be going to bed.

Then they don’t sleep well. Restless leg syndrome can also effect sleep. So can electric fields from TV’s, electric blankets, lights, wires in the wall or other similar things too close to the bed. They have also finally proven food additives DO cause hyperactivity even in normal kids. Parents had suspected for years.

Another cause of sleep deprivation is our society’s cruel deprivation of enough sleep time. Not everyone flourishes on only the standard amount of sleep. Some kids and adults need hours more than they are allowed to have. This is especially so for teenagers who need an average of 10 hours sleep and hormonally start feeling the need to fall asleep later and wake up later. Not every kid or adult can cope with society’s early to bed, early to rise philosophy. Studies show being a night owl is genetic, not a character flaw.

The medications used to treat ADD and ADHD have side effects and should only be used if nothing else works, but if nothing else works, studies have shown letting a child go without treatment can lead to later use of nicotine, alcohol and illegal drugs as the individual starts self treating to feel better. Sometimes saying yes to the right drugs prevents later saying yes to the wrong drugs! We had a case of this in a friend of mine’s family. Her little sister was brought up in church, lectured many times about the dangers of smoking, drinking and illegal drug use. She also ate very well and had counseling.

This was not a neglected or a malnourished child. Still she abused substances. She also was terrible academically and hard to get along with. It turned out she was trying to self treat a dopamine problem that kept her from being able to feel good and concentrate. A medication used to treat ADD made her feel better.

She no longer needed the cigarettes and illegal drugs and started to do better in school and socially. Many people who ended up with substance abuse problems started their problem as a way to cope with untreated brain illnesses. Untreated brain illnesses including ADD and ADHD also leads to unemployment and underemployment as it is hard to earn a living when one’s brain is not working properly.
This is so true that even ADD and ADHD adults have started using medications to cope with a problem that can cost them employment, promotions and self esteem.

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