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Sleep Disorders are Common in Kids with Aspergers

A recent study conducted at the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the University La Sapienza in Rome, Italy has led researchers to believe that sleep disorders are more common among kids with Aspergers as opposed to their typically-developing peers. Oliviero Bruni, MD authored the study which compared the sleep habits of eight kids with Aspergers, 10 kids with autism and a control group of 12 typically-developing kids. Moms and dads of kids with Aspergers filled out a sleep questionnaire and the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale. The kids were also assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist, the industry-standard Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Kids (WISC), and were observed during an overnight sleep study (polysomnogram).

The study determined that not only were kids with Aspergers reluctant to go to sleep they had difficulty falling asleep, difficulty waking up, and a general feeling of sleepiness throughout the day. As a parent of a youngster with Aspergers I can attest to these findings. My son has a hard time transitioning into his sleep routine, a difficult time falling asleep, and often nods off throughout the day. He rarely looks rested but can't seem to increase his quality of sleep.

It is important for all kids, but especially kids with Aspergers and other autism spectrum conditions, to have a consistent bedtime routine. This will allow everyone to wind down and have a relaxing evening which should, ideally, set the mood for a more restful night. It is imperative to avoid any excessively stimulating activity in the later evening hours including screen time (TV, movies, video games, computer time, etc) and any type of excessive physical activity. Some moms and dads find that the use of aromatherapy and relaxing music helps their youngster calm down and prepare themselves for a restful night of sleep.

All kids have sleep issues from time-to-time and will go through phases of disruptive sleep. Kids with Aspergers, however, are more prone to have longer periods of these disruptive cycles. This lack of quality sleep can affect a youngster in their everyday lives including their education and extracurricular activities. If the youngster isn't getting sleep then it is unlikely that the moms and dads are which can through the entire family dynamic off. If you have a youngster with Aspergers it is important to take note of their sleep, including speaking with the youngster themselves, and contact their pediatrician if you feel that they are being negatively affected by their sleep cycle.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Fielding J. Hurst said...

I don't have aspergers but have had trouble sleeping for awhile. I've been taking sleeping pills, but felt like I could never sleep without them and needed to find something else.

I bought the sleep mp3s at

Holy cow, those things put me out like a light. If you try one, get the fall asleep fast one. I got all 3 sleep ones. They are 20 or so minutes a piece and I have yet to make it to the 3rd one since using for a few weeks. Maybe I get the 3rd one "deep sleep" subliminally because I've woke up with ear buds still in the next morn.

Anonymous said...

My son is nearly 4 and has suspected Asperger's. He has never been a good sleeper and recently we have had real trouble with him waking up early every day. I read that this is a common symptom of AS. Today he was up at 5.30 asking me to read him a story and he woke up his little brother at the same time. He doesn't nap during the day and he went to sleep at 7.40 last night. We have tried a GroClock and it worked for a little while, but he just ignores it now. I feel so tired all the time and it makes everything more difficult (I work too). Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with this?

Anonymous said...

Try Melatonin. It is natural and over the counter. I ordered the liquid kind online since my son refuses to take pills. He is 8 and takes half the adult dose. Very sleepy 20 minutes after taking and now sleeps all night. Is not groggy in the morning.

Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group said...

Marlene Biggy they didn't need a study... they could have just asked the parents LOL
7 hours ago · Like · 10

Jenille Meade-King My 12 yr old hates to go to sleep! If I'd let him he'd stay up all night and sleep all day!! But no matter how much sleep he gets he's still tired when he is woken ip
7 hours ago · Like · 1

Alvina Lucas very true my son is 16 and from birth he never went to sleep b4 10pm every night.. Now since june he has been taking capress tablet to help him go to bed before 1pm... This week i didnt give him his tablets one night and he was still up at 1:30am
7 hours ago · Like

Susan Smith Moss Pannell yes, you already knew this if you have an Asperger's kid. We been treating my son's gut and getting rid of his yeast issues - now he sleeps 12 hours a night. HEAL the GUT!!!
4 hours ago · Like

Kim Biram My son's therapist suggested some relaxation music at night and it has been fabulous! He goes to sleep so much faster with it on.
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

My son didn't sleep through the night until he was 8. Good news for those of you with difficult sleepers, once puberty hits, it seems to stabilize. He sleeps perfectly since he was 13.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...