Disclaimer: This summary is based off of research conducted by Autism Treatment Network members. It is not a summary of the entire body of research literature available on this subject.
Many kids and teenagers with autism have problems sleeping which can be hard on the child and caregivers . Some have trouble falling and staying asleep, or wake up too early and have a hard time getting back to sleep . Problems sleeping happen more often if the child has restricted and repetitive behaviors (lining up toys, rocking, hand-flapping) , anxiety , or sensory problems  and can lead to having trouble paying attention, feeling restless, getting angry, and throwing tantrums . Watching TV, videos, or playing on the computer, especially if the shows or games are scary or violent, can lead to kids with autism having more trouble sleeping . All kids and teenagers with autism should be checked for trouble sleeping , by asking specific questions about bedtime, waketime, daytime and nighttime habits and bedtime routines . Then the parents can learn ways to help their child sleep better, for instance by cutting back on computer or video game time . Teaching parents about sleep habits , and sometimes using the right medicine can help kids with autism sleep better .
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHILD/TEENAGER?
WHEN DO WE SEE THIS HAPPENING?
Problems sleeping happen more often:
WHAT ARE SOME ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSE PROBLEM SLEEPING?
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO?
Take your findings to your next appointment. All children and teens with ASD should be checked for trouble sleeping . Health care providers can help you and your child/teen to learn good sleep strategies and may prescribe medications to help children and teens with autism sleep better . For more information on the individual research article referenced, please click on the title of the article (in dark blue) the reference section below.