Bedtime Routines, Children’s Behavior, and the Mystery of Faux-ADHD

Examining Daytime Behavior and Bedtime Habits

Researchers Robert M. Pressman and Steve C. Imber conducted a study to look at how children’s daytime behavior is connected to their bedtime routines. This study involved 704 parents of kids aged 2-13 who filled out a questionnaire in pediatric offices in Providence, Rhode Island.

Key Findings: Bed-sharing and Inconsistent Bedtimes

One striking finding was the strong connection (p-value < 0.0001) between children who bed share or don’t have regular bedtimes and the suggestion from others that these children should take medicine for behavioral or learning problems. Moreover, children who bed shared were more likely to exhibit physically aggressive behavior towards a parent.

Unraveling the Mystery of Faux-ADHD

These findings indicate that irregular bedtime routines, such as lack of consistent bedtimes and bed sharing, might be mistaken for ADHD symptoms, leading to unnecessary medication recommendations.

What This Means for Child Sleep Consultants

As child sleep consultants, it’s crucial that we integrate these findings into our approach. Understanding the significant connection between consistent bedtime routines and daytime behavior can guide us in providing more targeted advice to families. Our role can potentially prevent a misdiagnosis of ADHD and unnecessary medication, underlining the importance of sleep routine in a child’s overall wellbeing.

Pressman, R. M., & Imber, S. C. (2011). Relationship of Children’s Daytime Behavior Problems With Bedtime Routines/Practices: A Family Context and the Consideration of Faux-ADHD. Pages 404-418. Published online: 15 Sep 2011.