Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1207–1222 | Cite as

Examining the Behavioural Sleep-Wake Rhythm in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and No Comorbid Intellectual Disability

  • Emma K. Baker
  • Amanda L. Richdale
Original Paper


This study aimed to examine the behavioural sleep-wake rhythm in 36 adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to determine the prevalence of circadian sleep-wake rhythm disorders compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Participants completed an online questionnaire battery, a 14-day sleep-wake diary and 14-day actigraphy assessment. The results indicated that a higher proportion of adults with ASD met criteria for a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder compared to control adults. In particular, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder was particularly common in adults with ASD. Overall the findings suggest that individuals with ASD have sleep patterns that may be associated with circadian rhythm disturbance; however factors such as employment status and co-morbid anxiety and depression appear to influence their sleep patterns.


Autism Adults Sleep-wake rhythm Circadian DSWPD ASWPD 



This study was partially supported by a PhD Grant awarded to the first author from the APEX Trust for Autism. We would like to thank all the participants for their time on this project. The funding was provided by Apex Foundation.

Author Contributions

EB participated in the design of the study, conducted the analyses and drafted the manuscript. AR participated in the design of the study, advised on the interpretation of data and reviewed the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

This study was partially supported by a PhD grant awarded to the first author from the APEX Trust for Autism.

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology and Public Health, Olga Tennison Autism Research CentreLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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