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J Autism Dev Disord. 1999 Apr;29(2):143-7.

Sleep patterns in autistic children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


Sleep disturbances are regarded as a common clinical feature in autistic children. This concept is based primarily on informal observations or studies conducted with questionnaires. In this study we compared data obtained by questionnaires to that obtained with actigraphy. Among 22 autistic children, 12 were reported as having sleep problems and 8 patients completed 72 hours actigraphy. While the employment of questionnaires disclosed that autistic children had an earlier morning awakening time and multiple and early night arousals, actigraphic monitoring showed that with the exception of an earlier morning arousal time (p = .045), sleep patterns of autistic children were similar to that of normal children. Parental oversensitivity to sleep disturbances of the autistic children may explain this phenomenon.

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