Short sleep is unhappy bedfellow for autism features
The fewer hours of sleep children with autism get, the more severe their features, according to a study of more than 2,700 children with the condition1.
Insufficient sleep appears to take the biggest toll on a child’s ability to make friends: Every four-minute decrease in sleep duration is associated with a one-point increase in a score that reflects a child’s difficulty in forming peer relationships.
The findings, published 16 March in Autism Research, add to mounting evidence that sleep problems can exacerbate core features of autism.
“When kids don’t sleep well, it often affects their behavior during the day, contributing to increased meltdowns and difficulty going with the flow,” says lead researcher Beth Malow, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Sleep Division in Nashville, Tennessee.