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 decided we needed to see a paediatrician. I described Kieran’s behaviour to the Paediatrician. In her opinion he had ADHD. She prescribed Melatonin supplements to help with his sleeping problems. While I was not entirely happy with him being on the Melatonin I went along with it because I was so desperate for us all to get some sleep. However it didn’t work and we still were having the same problems.
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”.
See what families say about us
This training day has been very positively received by all members of the health visiting team. Staff feel better equipped to assess and provide advice on interventions that are evidence based to support parents. I strongly recommend that all clinical staff attend this extremely valuable training.”Carol Adams, Clinical Educator Health Visiting. Lewisham NHS Trust
Within my role as Infant Feeding Specialist – we have a large volume of mothers worried that their child is not sleeping, often equated to feeding concerns – this workshop has provided me with more in-depth strategies to support families with sleep issues. Lots of interesting research to follow-up and incorporate into my practice.”D Wilson, Infant Feeding Specialist
The HSE National Programme ‘Nurture’ engaged Millpond to deliver an extensive number of sleep workshop to registered public health nurses in the Republic of Ireland during 2018/19. Millpond provided an excellent professional service. They were open and willing to engagement and adaptation of the UK sleep programme to local needs. Feedback from the workshop participants was excellent. The Millpond trainers were flexible in developing the programme timetable and workshops were delivered over a wide geographical area in a timely and efficient manner.Virginia Pye, National Lead for Public Health Nursing, HSE
The landscape around children’s sleep is increasingly expansive and changing. Millpond’s up-to-date training meets the need to adapt to growing trends in child sleep challengers. Fully comprehensive and nurturing in their approach; encompassing all essential holistic and trending aspects in fully supporting a child’s emotional wellbeing to maximising a child’s sleep potential.Rozanne Hay, UK Representative & Director of Continuing Education for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants
I think this on-line course was presented very well, to a high standard.S Jelley, Community Nursery Nurse, Ceredigion
I have my Diploma in Children’s Service’s and have worked with wee ones (aged between 12weeks and 3 years) for 15 years, as a Nanny and within centers. Honestly, I think the course was brilliant. I loved it being online; it allowed for a ‘hands-up’ system which I think saves time and the content was so relevant, so much better than expected!Jane, Nanny, London
“An excellent training course with informed and sector-leading practitioners who have a wealth of knowledge and relevant experience.”A Williams, Early Years Pathfinder Staff Development & Training Officer, Flintshire
Really great to leave with a sense of a Tool Kit to support the children and families I work with.”T Harold- School Health Nurse and Community Practice Teacher
“Fantastic training very informative and interesting…really gained a lot of new information and strategies to help families in the future.”M Cartwright, B5 Child Health Nurse
I attended the workshop you did at Oakleigh special school. I wanted to say it was wonderful. I learned lots of new things and was impressed by your extensive knowledge about sleep, especially that it was backed up by research. Thank you.”T Nicholls
“As part of Mothercare’s community programme, Mandy hosted two 2 sleep workshops for parents. Parents were tremendously keen to attend and to get the best advice about good sleep practices for both babies and young children. Mandy’s sessions met the parent’s needs, resulting in parents feeling more confident and empowered afterwards.Mothercare's Parenting Consultant, Liz Day
I have no hesitation in recommending Mandy to host a workshop on children’s sleep whether to parents or professionals.
It’s thought provoking, interesting and contains good practical advice that works, so making sleep times easier and less stressful for both the child and the parent.”
I worked for 15 years making science and medical documentaries for BBC television. In 2011 I created my own digital company; Essential Parent (EP) to support new parents.Diana Hill, Essential Parent
EP works with the NHS, maternity hospitals, children’s centers and local authorities around the UK.
We chose Mandy Gurney as our sleep expert from many other possible candidates, since she was the only one who combined enormous authority, experience and knowledge, along with common sense and warmth. It’s a very rare combination of qualities and one which has served our parents, midwives and health visitors really well.
We’re enormously proud to be working with her – and we know just how lucky we are!”
Need sleep? …call us today direct on: 020 8444 0040