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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Feb 9. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-03891-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Insomnia Severity in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is Associated with sensory Hyper-Reactivity and Social Skill Impairment.

Author information

1
Section Clinical Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Sleep and Cognition, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, An Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Departments of Psychiatry and Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universtiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Departments of Integrative Neurophysiology and Psychiatry, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University and Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Section Clinical Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. S.Begeer@vu.nl.

Abstract

Insomnia is a common source of distress in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two characteristics of ASD could be relevant to insomnia complaints by hampering the entrainment of a circadian sleep-wake rhythm. First, sensory hyper-reactivity could lead to bright light avoidance and thus affect photoperiodic input to the circadian system. Second, impaired social skills complicate the establishment of a social interactions and thus affect scheduled social-behavioral input to the circadian system. We investigated the association of insomnia severity with sensory reactivity and social skills in 631 adults (18-65 years) with ASD. Results revealed positive associations of insomnia severity with general and visual sensory hyper-reactivity and with impairment of social skills. The findings warrant further studies which (1) directly assess whether a suboptimal functioning of the biological clock underlies these associations and (2) identify other factors that could contribute to observed sleep problems.

KEYWORDS:

Adults; Autism spectrum disorder; Insomnia; Sensory hyper-reactivity; Sleep problems; Social skills

PMID:
30737588
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-019-03891-8

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