(Scroll down to see the full list of articles in this special report.)
Many people are aware of autism’s core features — the unusual social interactions, the repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. Less appreciated are the problems people on the spectrum have getting a good night’s sleep. Many of them have trouble falling asleep, or wake up too early or for extended periods during the night. For the people on the spectrum who confront these problems, sleep doesn’t seem like a sidelight.
That’s why we’ve put the issue front and center in this special report on autism and sleep.
In various op-eds, scientists describe the behavioral consequences of lack of sleep, the role that electronic devices might play in disrupting sleep, and why it’s so difficult to study sleep in people with autism. Our news reports discuss the connection between autism and the body’s biological clock, and the importance of accounting for sleep in autism research.
The report also features tales of sleep deprivation from people on the spectrum and their families. And it spells out solutions. “How to get children with autism to sleep” details simple behavioral strategies that can help children with autism get the rest they need.
Our Spectrum Stories podcast features the voices of sleep researchers as well as those who are sleepless on the spectrum. And in a video newscast, the “Inside Scoop From the Autism Anchors: Sleep on the spectrum,” two scientists showcase the latest research on sleep and autism. We wish you, our readers, a good night’s sleep.
Differences in sleep and circadian rhythm may distort the results of autism studies.
Insomnia troubles many children with autism. Luckily, research is awakening parents to some simple bedtime solutions.
Many people with autism have difficulty falling and staying asleep, but there may be ways to help them.
Exposure to certain types of light at night may exacerbate sleep issues among people with autism.
Behavioral interventions and medications can help children with autism-related syndromes sleep better, but the treatments must be tailored to the cause of each child’s sleep disturbance.
Sleep problems in autism may stem from the same biological changes that underlie the core features of the condition.
Children with autism who have sleep problems are often distracted, hyperactive, irritable and aggressive.
Five scientists describe the biggest challenges they face in solving sleep problems in people with autism.
Autism researchers and funding agencies should turn their attention to sleep in autism — and its many connections to health, mood and behavior.
For many people with autism, a good night’s sleep is an elusive thing.
Erin, a girl with autism, stayed awake talking, singing and playing acrobat — but not sleeping — for about four years.
Scientists are trying to understand why people with autism so often have trouble sleeping, and how to help them.
Two scientists describe the causes and consequences of sleep disruptions in autism — and what to do about them.