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The Link Between ADHD & Sleep Apnea

February 6, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — fresnofamilydental @ 3:43 pm
person with sleep apnea sleeping with mouth open

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is usually first diagnosed in childhood. It often lasts into adulthood and may cause people who have it to have trouble with paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or being overly active. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you constantly stop and start breathing. Though further research is needed to find the exact link between ADHD and sleep apnea, these conditions have a surprising relationship. Keep reading to learn what it is.

How ADHD & Sleep Apnea Are Connected

Around puberty, those who have sleep apnea are known to sleep less, have trouble falling asleep, and experience nightmares. These distractions increase their risk of insomnia, hyper-focus, or bouts of energy. Poor quality sleep can also lead to a rise in anxiety around bedtime due to stress about not getting adequate rest.

Additionally, ADHD is linked to sleep deprivation. This is also a symptom of sleep apnea. Problems sleeping can make it hard to concentrate and may cause memory loss and issues with cognitive abilities. Overlapping symptoms can make it difficult to know if these issues can be caused by sleep deprivation, ADHD, or breathing disturbances. It also isn’t uncommon for sleep apnea to be misdiagnosed in those with ADHD.

A circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, refers to the internal sleep regulation process that repeats roughly every 24 hours. Researchers believe that delayed circadian rhythm cause a later onset of the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that plays a role in sleep, due to ADHD-related sleep problems.

Options to Treat ADHD & Sleep Apnea

Healthcare professionals recommend managing both sleep apnea and ADHD. Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type, may be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). It delivers gentle air pressure through a mask worn over the nose and mouth to keep the airway open.

Oral appliances may also be used to manage symptoms by addressing loud, chronic snoring by holding the jaw and tongue in more comfortable positions to keep the airway open. Additionally, ADHD medications may help you stay focused at work, school, or in social situations.

About the Practice

Dr. Byron Reintjes is a skilled dentist who offers patients living in the Fresno area the quality, effective care they deserve. This includes a variety of preventive, cosmetic, and restorative treatments. They also offer patients  who suffer from sleep apnea treatment to allow them to get the comfortable, quality sleep they need. If you want to set up an appointment with Dr. Reintjes or to learn more about his services, call his office at (559) 438-6684 or visit his website.

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