Children who don’t get enough sleep can be fidgety, distracted, forgetful, and impulsive. Sound familiar? Those behaviors are also symptoms of ADHD. That can cause confusion, and potential misdiagnosis, if a clinician doesn’t take care to rule out sleep issues before a child is diagnosed with ADHD.
How to tell whether your child’s symptoms might be caused by ADHD or lack of sleep — or both? Though sleep disturbances severe enough to be mistaken for ADHD are rare, it’s not unusual for kids who have ADHD to be sleep challenged, and inadequate sleep can definitely make ADHD symptoms worse.