7 Aug 2023

A new study sheds light on the link between ADHD and our internal sleep clock.

What is ADHD and what’s a circadian rhythm?

ADHD is a condition that can make it hard for some people to focus, stay organised, and control their impulses.

The circadian rhythm is like an internal clock that controls when we feel sleepy or awake.

Some people are “morning types,” who feel most energetic and alert in the morning, while others are “evening types” and feel more alive in the evening.

What was studied

The researchers studied 4751 college students from five universities in the United States. Most of the participants were female and White.

They were asked questions about their ADHD symptoms, feelings of sadness or nervousness, and their sleep preferences.

ADHD students are night owls

The study found that college students with ADHD symptoms were more likely to be “evening types” (who prefer staying up late) compared to students without ADHD symptoms.

The researchers also discovered that students with ADHD symptoms focusing on attention had a stronger preference for eveningness compared to those with hyperactivity symptoms.

Connection between ADHD and sleep patterns

This study shows that there might be a connection between ADHD and our sleep patterns.

College students with ADHD symptoms tend to be more night owls than their peers without ADHD.

However, the study does not tell us for sure whether ADHD causes the sleep patterns or if they are just related in some way.

Better support for students with ADHD

Understanding how ADHD and sleep patterns are related can help us develop better ways to support students with ADHD.

It may also help doctors and scientists learn more about ADHD and how it affects people in different ways.

More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between ADHD and sleep patterns, but this study is a step forward in helping us learn more about ADHD and how to support those affected by it.


Becker, S. P., Luebbe, A. M., Kofler, M. J., Burns, G. L., & Jarrett, M. A. (2023). ADHD, chronotype, and circadian preference in a multi-site sample of college students. Journal of Sleep Research, e13994.