Common ADHD Medications Do Indeed Disturb Children’s Sleep

Updated November 25, 2015
ADHD Rx Can Affect Children’s Sleep

A new study reviewing a wide range of research indicated that stimulant medications commonly used to treat ADHD can cause difficulty falling and staying asleep. And that can make the next day’s concentration, mood and impulse control that much harder. Multiple doses taken for a short vs. long duration have greater negative impact than long-acting Rx. Boy’s sleep is disturbed more than girls.

According to Dr. Harold Levinson, these important clinically recognized results merely suggest that doses and choice of meds must be carefully selected to avoid sleep and all other possible side-effects. Contrary to those fearing and/or misunderstanding the amazing benefits possible when proper stimulants are combined with other meds (inner-ear-enhancing Rx + nutrients, etc.), Levinson emphasizes that the benefits of carefully monitored pharmacotherapy far outweigh the risks and negatives of incomplete or inadequate treatments. Worse scenario, if meds are crucial then low stimulant doses and a sleep nutrient like melatonin and/or bedtime reassurance and calming techniques often solve the sleep problems noted.

Before concluding, Levinson believes it is absolutely crucial to emphasize that ADHD is a brain syndrome of many and varied concentration, activity… symptoms in combination with many other overlapping or comorbid disorders, eg., dyslexia or LD, dyspraxia, anxiety and depression, etc. Thus those simply viewing this often complex impairment as if it were merely a superficial concentration or activity symptom without serious risks and consequences if holistically untreated have “missed the boat.” By comparison, who would seriously view childhood diabetes as only a blood sugar problem and treat it with only diet? And if beneficial diabetes meds also caused some sleep symptoms, should treatment be discontinued or might the side-effect be separately managed?

About Dr. Harold Levinson
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit:

Image courtesy of yingyo/

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