There is a growing body of research on the impact of stimulant medication on sleep in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Negative sleep side effects are a common reason for nonadherence or for discontinuing a course of treatment. However, there is no published evidence as to whether pretreatment sleep can predict responses to treatment and the emergence of side effects.
In this study, baseline sleep variables were used to predict therapeutic effect (i.e., reduction of ADHD symptoms) and side effects (both sleep and global side effects) in a sample of newly diagnosed, medication-naive children (n = 50).
The results of hierarchical regression analysis showed that parent-reported shorter sleep duration before medication treatment significantly predicted better response to treatment, independent of pretreatment ADHD symptoms. Baseline sleep features did not significantly predict global (nonsleep) side effects but did predict increased sleep side effects during treatment.
These results indicate that baseline sleep variables may be helpful in predicting therapeutic response to medication and sleep disturbance as a side effect of stimulant medication.