Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1906-1915

First online:

Sleep and Behavioral Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Micah O. MazurekAffiliated withDepartment of Health Psychology, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri Email author 
  • , Kristin SohlAffiliated withDepartment of Child Health, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri

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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at high risk for sleep disturbance and behavioral dysregulation. However, the relationships between these difficulties are not fully understood. The current study examined the relationships between specific types of sleep and behavioral problems among 81 children with ASD. Sleep problems were significantly associated with physical aggression, irritability, inattention, and hyperactivity. In multivariate analyses, distinct sets of sleep problems accounted for between 22 and 32 % of the variance in behavior problems across models. These results indicate that sleep disturbance is associated with behavioral dysregulation among children with ASD. Of note, night awakenings had the most consistently strong association with daytime behavior problems, even after controlling for the effects of age and sex.


Autism Autism spectrum disorder Sleep Aggression Hyperactivity Inattention Behavior problems