Sleep problems in autism spectrum disorders: Prevalence, nature, & possible biopsychological etiologies. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 13, 403-411

Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Psychological Science, La trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia.
Sleep Medicine Reviews (Impact Factor: 8.51). 05/2009; 13(6):403-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2009.02.003
Source: PubMed


As considerably more people are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), interest in the associated behaviours, including sleep problems has increased. This has resulted in a subsequent increase in the research related to the sleep problems occurring in people with an ASD. This article summarizes and evaluates the current literature related to a) the higher prevalence of a sleep problem compared to typically developing children, b) the specific types of sleep problems for people with an ASD, and c) the possible aetiology of sleep problems in the ASDs within a biopsychosocial framework. It is concluded that recent studies confirm that the majority of this population are likely to experience sleep difficulties, with settling issues in children with an ASD the most commonly reported. However, exploration of the types of sleep difficulties and associated aetiological factors in the ASDs is still in its infancy.

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    • "Children with neurodevelopmental disorders are more likely than typically developing children to have altered sleep patterns and suffer from sleep problems. This pervasive comorbidity of disordered sleep has been documented in studies with children suffering from a wide range of disorders including epilepsy (Carotenuto, Parisi, Esposito, Cortese, & Elia, 2014; Pereira, Bruni, Ferri, Palmini, & Nunes, 2012), autism (Allik, Larsson, & Smedje, 2006; Cohen, Conduit, Lockley, Rajaratnam, & Cornish, 2014; Goodlin-Jones, Tang, Liu, & Anders, 2008; Hodge, Carollo, Lewin, Hoffman, & Sweeney, 2014; Richdale & Schreck, 2009), Down syndrome (Ashworth , Hill, Karmiloff-Smith, & Dimitriou, 2013; Austeng et al., 2014), Asperger syndrome (Allik et al., 2006; Paavonen et al., 2008), Rett syndrome (Carotenuto et al., 2013), Williams syndrome (Gombos , Bodizs, & Kovacs, 2011), Angelman syndrome (Miano et al., 2004), Tourette syndrome (Ghosh et al., 2014) and general intellectual disabilities (Wiggs & Stores, 1996). For example, children diagnosed with autism (and autism spectrum disorders) tend to have more difficulties than others falling asleep and maintaining sleep as well as in experiencing shorter sleep duration (Allik et al., 2006; Hodge et al., 2014; for a meta-analysis see Elrod & Hood, 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Hippocrates flagged the value of sleep for good health. Nonetheless, historically, researchers with an interest in developmental psychopathology have largely ignored a possible role for atypical sleep. Recently, however, there has been a surge of interest in this area, perhaps reflecting increased evidence that disturbed or insufficient sleep can result in poor functioning in numerous domains. Aims and scope: This review outlines what is known about sleep in the psychiatric diagnoses most relevant to children and for which associations with sleep are beginning to be understood. While based on a comprehensive survey of the literature, the focus of the current review is on the latest science (largely from 2010). There is a description of both concurrent and longitudinal links as well as possible mechanisms underlying associations. Preliminary treatment research is also considered which suggests that treating sleep difficulties may result in improvements in behavioural areas beyond sleep quality. Findings and conclusion: To maximise progress in this field, there now needs to be: (a) greater attention to the assessment of sleep in children; (b) sleep research on a wider range of psychiatric disorders; (c) a greater focus on and examination of mechanisms underlying associations; (d) a clearer consideration of developmental questions and (e) large-scale well-designed treatment studies. While sleep problems may sometimes be missed by parents and healthcare providers; hence constituting a hidden risk for other psychopathologies - knowing about these difficulties creates unique opportunities. The current excitement in this field from experts in diverse areas including developmental psychology, clinical psychology, genetics and neuropsychology should make these opportunities a reality.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
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    • "The results showed that 59% of the ASD group had indicators of at least of one type of sleep disorder , which agrees with the prevalence reported in the literature , which estimates that 44 – 83% of individuals experience sleep disorders in this population ( Richdale , 1999 ; Wiggs and Stores , 2004 ; Johnson et al . , 2009 ; Richdale and Schreck , 2009 ) . This value was higher than that of the control group , in which only 3 . "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between sleep disorders and the behavior of subjects with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and control subjects using specific questionnaires. A small percentage (1.8%) of the control subjects had symptoms indicative of sleep-breathing disorders (SBD) and nocturnal sweating. Fifty-nine percent of the subjects with ASD had symptoms indicative of at least one sleep disorder, with SBD the most commonly reported (38%). In the control group, the symptoms of SBD were correlated with social, thought, attentional, aggression, externalizing and behavioral problems. In the ASD group, disorders of arousal (DA) were correlated with thinking problems, and disorders of excessive somnolence were correlated with thinking and behavioral problems. These results suggest that children and adolescents with ASD have a high frequency of sleep disorders, which in turn correlate with some of the behavioral traits that they already exhibit. Furthermore, sleep disturbances, when present in the typically developing children, also correlated with behavioral problems.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    • "In addition to main symptoms, approximately 31% ASD individuals also present intellectual disability (ID) [1] and 20–25% have seizures [4]. Other common comorbidities in ASD include anxiety disorders [5], sleep disorders [6], gastrointestinal (GI) disorders [7] and abnormal http://dx.doi. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a strong genetic component. The past decade has witnessed tremendous progress in the genetic studies of ASD. In this article, we review the accumulating literatures on the monogenic forms of ASD and chromosomal abnormalities associated with ASD, the genome-wide linkage and association studies, the copy number variation (CNV) and the next generation sequencing (NGS) studies. With more than hundreds of mutations being implicated, the convergent biological pathways are emerging and the genetic landscape of ASD becomes clearer. The genetic studies provide a solid basis for future translational study for better diagnoses, intervention and treatment of ASD.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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