Understanding the role of sleep and its disturbances in Autism spectrum disorder Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Several studies have established a positive relationship between sleep difficulties and symptomatology in ASD children. The rationale for this review is to describe and discuss the sleep difficulties, which are one of the significant complications associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PURPOSE: Many types of sleep disorders have been reported in ASD individuals, but still lack a comprehensive study and in-depth analysis. Despite the contribution of sleep problems to the overall symptoms of ASD, the symptoms of disturbed sleep experienced by many affected patients have only recently started to receive attention from clinicians and family members. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This narrative overview has been prepared based on searching standard research databases with specific keywords; b. Additional search was made using the bibliographies of the retrieved articles; and c. author's collection of relevant peer-reviewed articles. Once selected, manuscripts are then compared and summarized based on the author's perspective. Results are based on a qualitative rather than a quantitative level. RESULTS: This article highlights the role of sleep in the brain and neural development of children and emphasizes that the intensity of sleep problems is associated with an increased occurrence of ASD symptoms. It also suggests the significance of treating sleep problems in ASD individuals. CONCLUSIONS: The review provides broader perspectives and a better understanding of sleep problems in pathophysiology, mechanism, and management with respect to ASD individuals. Finally, the implications for clinical practice and future agendas have also been discussed.


  • Karthikeyan, Ramanujam
  • Cardinali, Daniel P
  • Shakunthala, Venkat
  • Spence, David Warren
  • Brown, Gregory Michael
  • Pandi-Perumal, Seithikurippu R

publication date

  • October 2, 2020