Issue 156 | ADHD or poor sleep?

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_The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed

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Friday. We made it to the weekend. Quick reflection–how much sleep did youget this week? Eight hours a night? Seven? Six?! Less?!! Even if you areeating all the right things, exercising regularly, and hydratingappropriately, lack of sleep can be a major driver towards some less thanideal health outcomes. As a matter of fact, it may even be contributing to themisdiagnosis of ADHD in kids. Let’s dive in.

Swapping Adderall For Sleepy-time Tea?

Let’s kick this off with some stats. More than 5 million U.S. children, or9.5%, havebeen diagnosed with ADHD according to numbers from 2007. About 2.8 million ofthose children received a prescription for ADHD medication, consisting mostlyof stimulants like adderall or ritalin. That number of prescriptions is doublewhat it was in 1996. Looking at the most recent data, the number of kidsdiagnosed with ADHD is up to 6 million as of the latest survey in2016. Thenumber of those kids now prescribed ADHD medication is up to a whopping 3.72million (62%). That’s a lot of amphetamine. So why is the ADHD problem in kidsseemingly getting worse? Here is a crazy idea–maybe it isn’t getting worse,but more kids are misdiagnosed. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t be prescribingpharmaceutical grade stimulants to almost 4 million kids. Trouble payingattention, forgetfulness, and poor impulse control. These are three commonbehavioral symptoms associated with ADHD. Now, try to remember the last timeyou got a terrible night’s sleep. How did you feel? Perhaps you had troublepaying attention, felt forgetful, and had poor impulse control? Now what didyou do to help you get through the day after a really poor night of sleep?Coffee of course, and lot’s of it. It’s the universal solution to poorsleep–give me a venti iced coffee with an extra shot or two, ideally deliveredintravenously. You see the pattern here? Are kids being diagnosed with ADHDjust overtired? And instead of coffee, because we would never want kids todrink coffee, are we just giving them a little amphetamine to mask the realproblem? According to a growing body ofresearch, itseems poor sleep could indeed be at the crux of the ADHD problem in kids thatpolicymakers and educators are calling a national crisis. Sleep disorders inkids are rare, but it is so important that clinicians perform a carefulevaluation that always considers alternative explanations for ADHD symptomsbefore making an ADHD diagnosis. Unfortunately, this does not seem to alwaysbe the case. Why? I’ll let you take a guess, but the reason we are generallyso diagnosis and prescription heavy in the U.S most likely starts with M andrhymes with honey. And to make matters worse, the stimulants prescribed totreat ADHD will do what stimulants do, possibly making it harder for kids toget good sleep. If a kid happens to be misdiagnosed with ADHD and is actuallyjust having symptoms that stem from poor sleep, the ADHD medication they arenow taking will further negatively impact their sleep. This may make theirsymptoms worse, possibly leading to additional pharmaceutical intervention,further negatively impacting sleep, and so on, and so on. The solution? Sleep,sleep, sleep. Regardless of age, sleep is so incredibly important. Establish abedtime routine, avoid blue light before going to bed, try not to eat tooclose to bedtime–these are daily practices that can go a long way towardsimproving sleep quantity and quality.

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A Hopeful Note

13% of U.S adults have diabetes, while 34.5% haveprediabetes.That’s not good. The solution? Less sugar, less processed seed oils, moreregular exercise. Seemingly obvious recommendations, right? A U.S Panel ofexperts just recommended that screening for diabetes begin at age35, markinga 5 year change from the previous recommendation that screening begin at age40. The bad news? Experts are moving this age up 5 years because the diabetesproblem isn’t getting any better. The hopeful news? By encouraging earlierscreening, there is hope that people may adopt lifestyle changes earlier,allowing them to reverse prediabetes before having to deal with more serioushealth concerns down the line. Let’s leave it at that for a hopeful Fridaynote going into the weekend.

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Issue 151 | Email sucks. Open this one though

Issue 154 | Might be time for a 🌳 bath.