How treating sleep may ease all forms of autism

In a clinic I run at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I see children who have various genetic syndromes associated with autism. These children have a wide range of features, including intellectual disability, language problems and seizures. But they have one thing in common: poor sleep.

The inability to fall or stay asleep, called insomnia, can have far-reaching consequences. Sleep helps us to consolidate memories, learn and grow. Insomnia can aggravate cognitive and social and communication problems, behavioral challenges and anxiety; it can also exacerbate seizures.

Behavioral interventions and medications can help children with autism-related syndromes sleep better, but the treatments must be tailored to the cause of each child’s sleep disturbance.

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31st October 2017