Science Largest Study to Date Confirms Autism’s Link to Disordered Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a common complaint among parents of those with autism. Children can have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking too early in the morning. Lack of sleep can affect a family’s quality of life, lessen a child’s ability to cope and focus, and fray nerves. A new study from the Archives of Disease in Childhood compared information on 39 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with more than 7,000 typically developing children in South West England. Parents answered questions about their children’s sleeping patterns from age 6 months to 11 years.

Differences in sleep patterns started at age 30 months and continued to age 11. Over this span of time, children slept less per night than other children of the same age. By the time the children were 7 years old, more than one in ten children with autism were waking three or more times a night. This was true of just 1 in 50 of other children this age.

If you have a child that is experiencing sleep difficulties, be sure to consult your medical team to rule out factors such as GI issues, dental problems, or other health concerns. To read this article in its entirety, click here. To download the Sleep Toolkit for parents and caregivers, click here.

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