Sleep Disturbances in Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Reut Gruber*, Liron Salamon, Riva Tauman, Michal Al-Yagon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and insomnia disorders are prevalent in adolescents and are comorbid with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but only limited information is available regarding the prevalence of DSPS and insomnia in adolescents with ADHD. Moreover, previous studies comparing objective sleep parameters averaged the findings across all participants of each group (ADHD, control) regardless of each individual’s level of reported sleep disturbance. This might have resulted in inconsistency between information obtained by objective and subjective sleep measures in adolescents with ADHD. The objectives of the present study were 1) to compare the prevalence of risk for DSPS and insomnia in adolescents with ADHD and control adolescents in our samples; 2) to compare objectively measured sleep characteristics of adolescents with ADHD and controls while taking into consideration their levels of risk for DSPS or their level of insomnia; and 3) to compare the ADHD symptom levels of adolescents with moderate/high and low risk for DSPS or insomnia. Methods: Seventy-three adolescents (37 ADHD, 36 controls) aged 12–15 years participated in a cross-sectional study. Actigraphy was used to characterize objective sleep parameters and parents’ or adolescents’ reports were used to characterize subjective sleep parameters. Results: Of the participants in the ADHD and control groups, 33.33% and 27%, respectively, had moderate/high levels of risk for DSPS. Adolescents in the high-risk group for DSPS had an objectively measured delayed sleep schedule and more variable sleep duration, time in bed, and sleep efficiency compared to adolescents in the low-risk group for DSPS, regardless of their ADHD diagnosis. Adolescents with higher levels of insomnia spent more time in bed and had more variable sleep efficiency compared to adolescents with no insomnia, regardless of their diagnosis. Conclusion: The prevalence of moderate/high risk for DSPS was similarly high in adolescents with ADHD and controls. Participants’ subjective reports of sleep disturbances were consistent with their objective sleep parameters when the type and level of subjectively defined sleep disturbance were considered. ADHD symptom levels were not different in adolescents with moderate/high or low risk for DSPS or insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-286
Number of pages12
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
StatePublished - 2023


  • actigraphy
  • delayed sleep phase
  • insomnia
  • subjective sleep measures


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