Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autistic kids have poorer sleep quality than their peers into teens

Date:
September 30, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Children with autistic spectrum disorders have poorer sleep quality than their peers right up to their teens.

Total sleep duration is shorter and punctuated by more frequent waking at night, the research shows. Poor quality sleep may affect daytime learning and behaviour, say the authors.

Related Articles


Disrupted sleep patterns have been linked to autism before, but the quality of the evidence accumulated to date has often been compromised by small sample size, lack of agreed definitions, and poor comparability of study participants.

The authors of this study instead base their findings on long term data derived from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has been tracking the health and development of more than 14,000 children born in 1991-2 in South West England.

All the parents were quizzed about their children's sleeping patterns when their kids were 6, 18, 30, 42, 69, 81, 115 and 140 months old, including when their children routinely went to bed and woke up on week days, and how much time they spent sleeping during the daytime.

The researchers also took account of other key information, including the results of validated questionnaires on social and communication skills (SCDC) and intelligence (WISC-III) when the children were 7 years old.

Eighty six of the children had been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders by the time they were 11 years old. Thirty had classic autism; 15 had atypical autism; and 23 had Asperger's syndrome.

The final analysis was based on 39 children with autistic spectrum disorders and 7043 typical children for whom complete data across all time points were available.

This showed that before the age of 30 months, there was no major difference in sleeping patterns between the two groups of children. But from 30 months onwards, children with autistic spectrum disorders tended to sleep less in total, with the greatest discrepancy (43 minutes) persisting up to 140 months of age.

Although the gap in total sleep narrowed after this point, autistic children still slept around 20 fewer minutes each day than their typical peers by the time they reached their teens.

These differences remained even after taking account of influential factors, such as prematurity, low birthweight, maternal education, and social class.

These differences were wholly due to the length of night-time sleep, which was shortened by frequent bouts of wakefulness.

From the age of 30 months onwards, children with autistic spectrum disorders were significantly more likely to wake three or more times a night than their typical peers, a difference that became even more noticeable the older the children became.

By the time the children were 81 months old, more than one in 10 of those with autistic spectrum disorders were waking three or more times a night compared with just 0.5% of their peers.

An increasing body of data also suggests that production of the sleep hormone melatonin may be impaired in some children with autistic spectrum disorders, which may explain disturbed sleep patterns, suggest the authors.

But it's unclear just what impact this shortened sleep pattern may have, they acknowledge. But they point out that other researchers have suggested that sleep loss may have impact on neuronal development.

"If this hypothesis of cumulative sleep reduction resulting in neuronal loss is confirmed, then clinically [children with autism] might gain from even a small consistent increase in total sleep time," they write.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. S. Humphreys, P. Gringras, P. S. Blair, N. Scott, J. Henderson, P. J. Fleming, A. M. Emond. Sleep patterns in children with autistic spectrum disorders: a prospective cohort study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2013-304083

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Autistic kids have poorer sleep quality than their peers into teens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930200712.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, September 30). Autistic kids have poorer sleep quality than their peers into teens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930200712.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Autistic kids have poorer sleep quality than their peers into teens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930200712.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins