Monarch Center for Autism Cleveland Ohio

Sleep Dysfunction

Is your child having trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night? Sleep problems16 are common in children and adolescents with autism. Having a child with sleep problems can affect the whole family. It can also have an impact on the ability of your child to benefit from therapy.

Sometimes sleep issues may be caused by medical issues such as obstructive sleep apnea or gastroesophageal reflux and addressing the medical issues may solve the problem. In other cases, when there is no medical cause, sleep issues may be managed with behavioral interventions including "sleep-hygiene" measures such as limiting the amount of sleep during the day, and establishing regular bedtime routines.

There is some evidence of abnormality of melatonin regulation in children with autism. While melatonin may be effective for improving the ability of children with autism to fall asleep, more study is needed. Melatonin or sleep aids of any kind should not be given without first consulting with your child's physician.


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