ADHD and Sleep
Sleep deprivation meant Kieran would be either very grumpy and difficult throwing spectacular temper tantrums if the slightest thing didn’t suit or he would be completely hyperactive and out of control.
The problem started when Kieran began waking up and crying. We didn’t feel able to leave him to get on with it so we would go into him. From here it progressed to him wanting to play for long periods during the night and no matter what we did he seemed totally unable to relax and fall back to sleep.
Sleep deprivation meant Kieran would be either very grumpy and difficult throwing spectacular temper tantrums if the slightest thing didn’t suit or he would be completely hyperactive and out of control – hardly surprising as he had only had around 7 – 8 hours sleep! I was also really tired I found this behaviour very challenging, exhausting and difficult to deal with.
I saw my health visitor about it and she suggested we tried the controlled crying technique, but it was never totally successful. By the time Kieran was 3 the sleep situation was getting worse and his nursery had told me his development was not “age appropriate”.
I contacted the Paediatrician again and she told me to increase the dosage of Melatonin and prescribed Ritalin. I was completely at my wits end and needed a sleep solution. I took the prescription and started him on the medication. After a couple of weeks of being on the Ritalin and higher dose of Melatonin, it still wasn’t working, if any thing the nighttime waking had become worse.
At this point I began to question his ADHD diagnoses. If he truly had ADHD then all of this medication he was on would be having some effect surely? I stopped giving him the Ritalin and I started doing some internet research on sleep deprivation and the effects of it and I found quite a lot of evidence which suggests that the symptoms of ADHD are very similar to that of lack of sleep.
I found Millpond Children’s Sleep.
We started a sleep programme with Millpond sleep clinic and Kieran responded immediately to it.
The plan was to use a late sleep phase programme. We were to establish a relaxing bedtime routine with very clear boundaries. The “new rules” were explained to Kieran and he was rewarded if he went to sleep nicely at bedtime and back to sleep nicely in the night.
Part of the programme also involved gradually lowering his Melatonin dosage in order to eventually wean him off.
Over the next couple of weeks he responded well. By the end of the third week he was completely off the Melatonin and sleeping soundly through the night. Seven weeks on, I am delighted to say that all is still going well and he is sleeping right through the night.
Nursery reports that Kieran is a different child. He is now calm and sits and listens and concentrates, his behaviour is so much better and they are very pleased at how well he is doing. When I look back at the situation now I think it’s really scary how he was prescribed a cocktail of drugs, which he didn’t really need at all, the only thing Kieran needed was a good 11-12 hours sleep every night!
“My maternal instinct was right; lack of sleep was causing a lot of Kieran’s behaviour problems and development delay.
I just wish that I had gone to Millpond sooner and not waited so long until things became desperate before we got help. I would recommend Millpond to anyone and cannot praise them enough”.