Sufficient sleep duration in autistic children and the role of physical activity.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
2022 Jan 06
<p><strong>LAY ABSTRACT: </strong>Higher levels of physical activity may be associated with improved sleep in children, but this relationship is still being determined, especially in autistic children. In this study, we used existing data from the 2018 National Survey of Children's Health. Caregivers of children 6-17 years old, including caregivers of autistic children, completed a questionnaire that included questions about physical activity (days active in the past week) and sleep duration. We then determined if children were obtaining the recommended hours of sleep for their age (i.e. sufficient sleep). We found that higher physical activity levels were associated with sufficient sleep duration, but this finding was weaker in autistic children. In particular, this association was not observed in autistic children with more severe autism spectrum disorder, female autistic children, and autistic children 6-12 years old. In conclusion, physical activity is a promising approach to help children obtain sufficient sleep duration. However, more personalized approaches to improving sleep may be needed for certain groups of autistic children.</p>