Natalie and her husband, Stephen, had a tough time with Dylan before he turned 4. His behavior wasn’t improving, and they worried about his future development. It took a number of specialists and a misdiagnosis or two, but at long last, they finally were able to identify that his adenoids and tonsils were an issue. Removing these can unblock the airway, allowing kids to breath more easily during sleep, and with improved sleep comes improved daytime behavior.
Finally: A Diagnosis
There was a marked improvement after his adenoids and tonsils were removed, but Dylan was still struggling with his behavior, especially in academic situations where he wasn’t challenged - that’s when he would get into trouble. Since he was still having issues, Natalie and Stephen had Dylan evaluated for ADHD - and the result was a diagnosis. They decided that they were going to try every treatment possible before putting Dylan on any medications. One of the avenues to explore was something a Developmental Pediatric Neurologist had asked them about years before - was Dylan’s sleep contributing to his daytime difficulties? Since they’d seen the improvement having his tonsils and adenoids removed had on his sleep breathing, Natalie and Stephen were aware of the influence sleep has on daytime function, so they were open to discovering if there were other issues with Dylan’s sleep.
“Sleep is on our radar because behaviorally, we want to set Dylan up for success in all possible ways, and we’ve learned that sleep is an enormous part of that.” - Natalie, mom
The Relationship Between ADHD and Sleep
There are many parents of children with ADHD who struggle with their child’s sleep. Of children with ADHD, the Harvard Mental Health Letter estimates that 25-50% of them experience some type of sleep problem. But there’s an unanswered question of whether sleep issues are a symptom of ADHD or one of the factors contributing to the diagnosis: “The symptoms of ADHD and sleeping difficulties overlap so much it may be difficult to tease them apart.” It’s even been suggested that ADHD could itself be a sleep disorder. While the science hasn’t quite caught up to the theory, it’s clear that the link between ADHD and sleep issues needs continued study - and that good sleep certainly only has positive benefits for any child, especially ones who might have ADHD.
Uncovering Dylan’s Sleep
Through a recommendation from a friend, Natalie decided to try Knit to understand the quality of Dylan’s sleep. There’s a lot of talk about the amount of sleep your kids should be getting, but Knit is the only sleep improvement program that assesses the four cornerstones of healthy sleep: quantity, routine, quality and breathing. Through cutting-edge camera technology and tracking over multiple nights from the comfort on your own home, Knit is able to identify patterns, detect sleep fragmentation and provide recommendations written by a team of sleep medicine experts on how to improve sleep quality.
After the initial observation period, Natalie received Dylan’s sleep report and was blown away. She had not expected it to include the level of detail and sheer amount of data specifically about Dylan’s sleep. “I loved, loved, loved the recommendations,” she said. She and Stephen had already made changes to Dylan’s sleep environment before receiving the report, but the whole package served as a reinforcement of the right things to do. It both validated the good things they were doing, while also reminding her to be more vigilant about a couple of things that had slipped through the cracks. Over the summer, they had stopped enforcing bedtime as strictly, but Dylan was still waking up at the same time each morning, so ultimately he wasn’t getting the amount of sleep he needed. Getting the report was the reminder they needed to keep Dylan’s bedtime consistent on weekdays, weekends and through the summertime; otherwise, they would be doing him a disservice. The report also provided a nice affirmation that they were on the right track by cutting off screen time before bed and completely on weeknights. “We had cut way back on screen time a while back, so it was incredibly validating to have his sleep report reinforce the positive impact our rule was having on his sleep health.” Natalie, mom
A Mother’s Recommendation
Dylan’s class in school happens to include a number of students who are also going through some behavioral issues, and Natalie quickly saw how much Knit could benefit those families. With poor sleep at the core of many daytime behavioral issues, Knit not only shines a light on what’s going on at night; it provides action items to improve.
“I would definitely, definitely recommend Knit to anyone I know whose kid is acting out or facing behavioral challenges. The whole process and service is immensely valuable.” - Natalie, mom
Natalie decided to continue using the ongoing monthly Knit service to keep an eye on any changes in Dylan’s sleep and address issues as they present themselves in real-time. They’ve especially focused on increasing the amount of sleep that Dylan gets. His strong internal clock wakes him up at the same time each morning, no matter what. So by moving his bedtime back at least half an hour, they’re monitoring how the extra sleep affects his overall day and sleep health.
“Now I know I’m not letting anything slip through the cracks with Dylan’s sleep. I don’t have to worry about what happens between putting him to bed and when he wakes up in the morning - I can see that with Knit.” - Natalie, mom
Knit’s Value to Natalie, Stephen and Dylan
- Complete visibility and confidence in the quality of Dylan’s sleep
- Validation of the right things they were already doing for Dylan’s sleep health
- A gentle reminder about behaviors that they should be enacting
- Personalized, expert recommendations specifically to improve Dylan’s sleep