Caffeine intake later in day may contribute to sleep problems in teens with ADHD
Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are likely to consume a greater amount of caffeine during later times of the day, which, in turn, is associated with sleep problems, a study has found.
The study included 302 adolescents aged 12–14 years with (n=140) or without (n=162) ADHD. All participants wore actigraph watches to evaluate total sleep time and wake after sleep onset. They also completed questionnaires that assessed sleep–wake problems and the number of caffeinated beverages consumed per day in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Caffeine intake in the morning was similar between the two groups (p=0.086). However, adolescents with vs without ADHD were 2.47 times more likely to consume at least one caffeinated beverage per day in the afternoon (p=0.001) and in the evening (p=0.020).
Path analyses revealed significant associations between caffeine consumption in the afternoon and more self-reported sleep problems in the ADHD and control groups. Evening caffeine intake was also associated with self-reported sleep problems but only in the ADHD group.
Additionally, afternoon caffeine intake was linked to parent-reported sleep problems among adolescents with ADHD only. Caffeine use was not associated with actigraphy-assessed sleep.
The findings highlight the importance of evaluating caffeine use in adolescents with ADHD and co-occurring sleep problems, the researchers said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents not exceed >100 mg of caffeine intake per day, which is equivalent to about one cup of coffee, and advises against the consumption of any quantity of energy drinks. [https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/energy.htm]