Today, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day.
80% of children on the autism spectrum suffer from sleep problems.
The most frequent problem in patients with ASD, in consultation with the Sleep Units, is INSOMNIA (56%). There are other disorders that hinder good rest.
- Difficulty lying down
- Parasomnias: nocturnal screaming, sleepwalking, bruxism, night terrors
- Difficulty getting up
- Daytime sleepiness
- Periodic Leg Movement Disorder
- Snoring and/or sleep apneas
- Alteration of circadian rhythms in the wake-sleep cycle
Another frequent sleep problem consulted in the Sleep Units is sleep disturbance in parents and caregivers.
The presence of other neurological comorbidities such as epilepsy would be another sleep-related disorder in patients with ASD.
Sleep disturbance aggravates the clinical manifestations of children with ASD: reduced social interaction, increased repetitive behaviors, affective problems, increased hyperactivity and inattention.
That is why it is important to assess and intervene early in these problems in the Sleep Units and acting in a multidisciplinary manner with other medical specialties.