Children With Autism More Often Have Sleep Problems

More children with autism spectrum disorder have sleep problems compared with other children.

HealthDay News — More children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have sleep problems compared with other children, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in Pediatrics.

Ann M. Reynolds, M.D., from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues compared sleep habits in young children ages 2 to 5 years old. Parents of 522 children with ASD, 228 children with other developmental delays and disorders with ASD (DD w/ASD), 534 children with DD without ASD characteristics (DD w/o ASD), and 703 children from the general population completed the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ). The authors compared the mean total score and subscale scores of the CSHQ between the groups.

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The researchers found that the mean CSHQ total score was 48.5 for ASD, 50.4 for DD w/ASD, 44.4 for DD w/o ASD, and 43.3 for the general population. When children with ASD were compared with both children with DD w/o ASD and children in the general population, the differences were statistically significant. Compared with the DD w/o ASD and general population groups, the ASD group had a significantly higher proportion of children with sleep problems (total score cutoff of 48; adjusted odds ratios, 2.12 and 2.37, respectively).

“Because of the prevalence of sleep problems in young children with ASD features and the impact of poor sleep on daytime behavior and overall health for the child and family, further study is needed to address the etiology and management of sleep problems in children with ASD,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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