By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, young children with autism have a harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep.

Researchers examined the sleep habits of almost 2,000 kids between the ages of 2 and 5 and found that while about a quarter of the kids in the general population had sleep problems, kids on the autism spectrum and those with other developmental delays with characteristics of autism were more than twice as likely to have sleep problems.

Children with autism often have anxiety, difficulty making transitions and differences in melatonin production, all of which may contribute.

Since disordered sleep can affect a child’s daytime behavior and quality of life for both the child and the family, experts urge pediatricians to talk to parents about sleep and arrange thorough evaluations to make sure families get comprehensive sleep advice.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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