Cross-Sectional Age Analysis of Sleep Problems in 2 to 17 Year Olds with ADHD Combined, ADHD Inattentive, or Autism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sleep problems are common in autism and ADHD. No study has compared sleep problems by age in 2 to 17 year olds with autism versus ADHD-Combined versus ADHD-Inattentive type. Mothers rated 1415 youth with autism and 1041 with ADHD on 10 Pediatric Behavior Scale sleep items. Nighttime sleep problems were most severe in autism, followed by ADHD-Combined, and then ADHD-Inattentive. Difficulty falling asleep, restless during sleep, and waking during the night were the most common problems. Adolescents slept more at night than other age groups, and youth who slept more at night were sleepier during the day. Sleep problems declined with age, but correlations were small. In adolescence, 63% with autism, 53% with ADHD-Combined, and 57% with ADHD-Inattentive had difficulty falling asleep. Given that the majority of children in all age groups had one or more sleep problem, developmentally appropriate interventions are needed to address sleep difficulties and limit their adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this