Autism and Sleep

Autism and Sleep

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders are reported to have more sleep challenges than their typically developing peers.  These challenges include:

  • Decreased total sleep time
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up at night
  • Early morning awakenings
  • Restless sleep
  • Parasomnia-sleepwalking, night terrors, talking during sleep, and rhythmic movement disorders

To help your child sleep better:

  • Rule out any medical problems
  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine
  • Make sure your child’s room is conducive to sleep (cool, dark and quiet)
  • Limit/eliminate caffeine
  • Limit exposure to blue light (screens) during the day, especially one hour before bedtime
  • Engage your child in daytime exercise
  • Eliminate naps when appropriate
  • Discuss appropriate interventions with a behavior specialist

*In some cases pharmacological intervention may be necessary.  If none of these approaches help, seek advice from your child’s physician