Sleep problems are common in children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One-half to one-third of children with ASD have sleep problems. This can lead to daytime problems with paying attention, being irritable, and showing more repetitive behaviors. The amount of nighttime sleep needed by preschoolers in general is usually 10 to 13 hours. It goes down with age. By age 13 years, the usual amount needed is 8 to 11 hours. Sleep problems can affect parents and caregivers as well as their child because parents lose sleep caring for a child who is awake.

Children with ASD may have many reasons for sleep problems. The causes may be medical, behavioral, or both. Medical reasons for sleep problems may be allergies, breathing problems, and acid reflux (stomach discomfort).

Medications can also affect sleep. Behavioral reasons for sleep problems could be changes in daily or bedtime routines, stress at home...

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