No matter your age, a good night’s sleep is an important part of staying healthy. Sleep problems can impact physical health and quality of life, and impaired sleep habits have been associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and immune dysfunction. Sleep problems are observed more frequently in children with autism and developmental delays, but previous studies haven’t looked at large groups of patients and compared to the general population, where sleep problems are still common.
In a new study published on February 11 in the journal Pediatrics, Susan E. Levy, MD, MPH, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and Director of the Autism Integrated Care Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and other researchers had parents of 2- to 5-year-old children complete the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire. The multisite case-control study looked at 522 children with autism spectrum disorder, 228 children with other developmental delays and disorders with characteristics of autism, 534 children with other developmental delays with no autism characteristics, and 703 children who were considered neurotypical.