Spectrum: Autism Research News
Sleep problems are unusually common in people on the spectrum, and yet the topic is poorly understood. In this Cross Talk, five scientists discuss the biggest hurdles they face in understanding the relationship between autism and sleep.
For some, the issues are largely technical: The gold-standard sleep test is time-consuming and costly to administer. For others, it’s a lack of funding, ill-defined terms or fragmentation of the field. Despite the challenges, these scientists agree on the importance of the work, and that progress in this field requires collaboration, investment and large datasets.
Complex technology can bog down research into sleep issues in people on the spectrum.
Sleep problems may underlie some core features of autism.
Fragmentation in the field hampers progress on sleep and autism.
Animal models could reveal the circuits that control sleep, deep under the brain’s surface.
The field needs better definitions of sleep quality and more longitudinal studies.