Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 427–433 | Cite as

Relation of Melatonin to Sleep Architecture in Children with Autism

  • Roberta M. Leu
  • Liya Beyderman
  • Emmanuel J. Botzolakis
  • Kyla Surdyka
  • Lily Wang
  • Beth A. Malow
Original Paper


Children with autism often suffer from sleep disturbances, and compared to age-matched controls, have decreased melatonin levels, as indicated by urine levels of the primary melatonin metabolite, 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SM). We therefore investigated the relationship between 6-SM levels and sleep architecture in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty-three children, aged 4–10 years, completed two nights of polysomnography and one overnight urine collection for measurement of urinary 6-SM excretion rate. Parents completed the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire. We found that higher urinary 6-SM excretion rates were associated with increased N3 sleep, decreased N2 sleep, and decreased daytime sleepiness. The results warrant further examination to examine the effects of supplemental melatonin on sleep architecture and daytime sleepiness.


6-Sulfatoxymelatonin 6-SM Sleep stages Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire Parental Concerns Questionnaire Polysomnography 



Support provided by the National Alliance for Autism Research/Autism Speaks Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta M. Leu
    • 1
  • Liya Beyderman
    • 1
  • Emmanuel J. Botzolakis
    • 4
  • Kyla Surdyka
    • 1
  • Lily Wang
    • 2
  • Beth A. Malow
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Sleep Disorders Division, Department of NeurologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Human DevelopmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Medical Scientist Training ProgramVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA

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