Variables related to sleep problems in children with autism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our study of 477 children with autism (1-15 years, IQs 9-146) showed that parent reported sleep problems are found in most children with autism and are not significantly related to age, IQ, gender, race, parent occupation, neuropsychological functioning, and learning ability. However, sleep problems increased with severity of autistic symptoms and with severity of parent reported symptoms known to be associated with autism (i.e., oppositional behavior, aggression, explosiveness, attention deficit, impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and mood variability). This suggests that sleep disturbance is part of the autism symptom complex and increases with increasing autism severity. The strongest predictors of sleep disturbance were parent ratings of autism severity, hyperactivity, mood variability, and aggression. The most frequent sleep problems were difficulty falling asleep and restlessness during sleep. Daytime sleepiness was not significantly correlated with sleeping less than normal, but was associated with sleeping more than normal. Children who were sleepier during the day were also sleepier at night. Medical practitioners and clinicians should be aware of the risk of sleep disturbance in children with autism and should routinely screen for this. Empirically proven interventions (e.g., behavior therapy and melatonin) are available to improve sleep in children with autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-941
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

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Autistic Disorder
Sleep
Aggression
Psychomotor Agitation
Aptitude
Impulsive Behavior
Behavior Therapy
Melatonin
Occupations
Anxiety
Learning
Depression

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Our study of 477 children with autism (1-15 years, IQs 9-146) showed that parent reported sleep problems are found in most children with autism and are not significantly related to age, IQ, gender, race, parent occupation, neuropsychological functioning, and learning ability. However, sleep problems increased with severity of autistic symptoms and with severity of parent reported symptoms known to be associated with autism (i.e., oppositional behavior, aggression, explosiveness, attention deficit, impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and mood variability). This suggests that sleep disturbance is part of the autism symptom complex and increases with increasing autism severity. The strongest predictors of sleep disturbance were parent ratings of autism severity, hyperactivity, mood variability, and aggression. The most frequent sleep problems were difficulty falling asleep and restlessness during sleep. Daytime sleepiness was not significantly correlated with sleeping less than normal, but was associated with sleeping more than normal. Children who were sleepier during the day were also sleepier at night. Medical practitioners and clinicians should be aware of the risk of sleep disturbance in children with autism and should routinely screen for this. Empirically proven interventions (e.g., behavior therapy and melatonin) are available to improve sleep in children with autism.",
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Variables related to sleep problems in children with autism. / Mayes, Susan; Calhoun, Susan.

In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Vol. 3, No. 4, 01.10.2009, p. 931-941.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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