Sleep Apnea and ADHD

Is It ADHD or Sleep Apnea?Young man struggling to get out of bed in the morning

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout sleep. Suffering from a sleep disorder can drastically affect your everyday life, from feeling exhausted to lacking focus. The symptoms affect each patient differently depending on the severity of their condition. 

Not everyone understands sleep apnea, which is why many people are misdiagnosed with ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that can affect a person’s attention span, ability to focus, or makes it hard for them to sit still. 

Misdiagnosis is most common among children because they have similar symptoms as patients with ADHD  and typically can’t communicate their symptoms to doctors as well as adults.

 

Understanding The Similarities

The similarities between ADHD and sleep apnea can make it difficult to differentiate between the two. Doctors who aren’t fully educated on the conditions might diagnosis patients with ADHD simply because they’re restless during the day. 

There are many symptoms of ADHD that appear similar to sleep apnea, including:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Disorganization

Living with untreated sleep apnea can lead to further health complications in the future, so it’s best to look out for the warning signs of each condition so you can receive the proper treatment. If some of your symptoms sound similar to those of sleep apnea, you’ll want to undergo a sleep study to ensure you receive a proper diagnosis. When patients are misdiagnosed with ADHD, their sleep apnea condition can worsen and lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, or diabetes.

Finding The Most Effective SolutionYoung man falling asleep while trying to study

In order for your physician to accurately diagnose your condition, you’ll participate in an at-home or in-lab sleep study. During an in-lab test, you’ll stay the night at a lab, typically located in a hospital where you’ll be continuously monitored by a physician. 

Vitals such as oxygen saturation, heart rate, and leg and eye movement will be recorded throughout the test. If you prefer to undergo the test in the privacy of your own home, we can recommend an at-home sleep study.


Once you’ve received a diagnosis from your physician, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bulnes-Newton. From there, she’ll be able to discuss your sleep disorder with you and the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Sleep Better Tampa offers a variety of sleep apnea treatments to ensure all of our patients find the most effective solution for their sleep disorders.

Assisting You On Your Journey to a Better Night’s RestYoung woman waking up happy and rested

If you’re ready to find a solution for your sleep apnea, contact Sleep Better Tampa for an effective treatment plan. Dr. Bulnes-Newton offers the sleep care you need. To make an appointment, contact our Tampa practice by calling (813-607-5337) and one of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist you.