Sleep patterns in children with autistic spectrum disorders: a prospective cohort study

Joanna S Humphreys, Paul Gringras, Peter S Blair, Nicola Scott, John Henderson, Peter J Fleming, Alan M Emond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate longitudinal sleep patterns in children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs).

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal study using Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, an English cohort born in 1991-1992. Parental reports of sleep duration were collected by questionnaires at 8 time points from 6 months to 11 years. Children with an ASD diagnosis at age 11 years (n=73) were identified from health and education records.

RESULTS: From aged 30 months to 11 years old, children with ASD slept for 17-43 min less each day than contemporary controls. No significant difference in total sleep duration was found in infancy, but from 30 months of age children with ASD slept less than their peers, a difference that remained significant after adjusting for sex, ethnicity, high parity and epilepsy. The reduction in total sleep was wholly due to changes in night rather than daytime sleep duration. Night-time sleep duration was shortened by later bedtimes and earlier waking times. Frequent waking (3 or more times a night) was also evident among the children with ASD from 30 months of age. Age-specific decreases of >1SD within individuals in sleep duration across adjacent time points was a predictor of ASD between 18 months and 30 months of age (p=0.04) and from 30 months to 42 months (p=0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: Sleep duration in children with ASD is reduced from 30 months of age and persists until adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-8
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
  • Child, Preschool
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Questionnaires
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Disorders

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