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Issues with sleep are common from birth through each and every stage of life for many, if not most, on the autism spectrum. These issues may include: unusual patterns of sleep, bedtime resistance, bedtime anxiety, delayed sleep onset, nighttime awakenings, nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, snoring, bed-wetting, early morning awakenings, and excessive daytime sleepiness.


Anxiety plays a key role in hampering sleep efforts. A calm, firm and reliable routine from morning to night, including regular daily exercise can greatly help reduce anxiety and pave the way for better sleep, and better well-being all round. Books have always been a major source of comfort for myself and my children. They played and continue to play a key role in bridging that transition from the relative safety of ‘the light of day’ to what can sometimes be ‘the unknown terror of darkness/night’, especially if nightmares are prevalent and repetitive. Some children on the spectrum are able to control their dreams from a young age, so great is the fear, and some report learning to ‘fly’ in their dreams as a means of rising above and escaping the ‘fear’. Adolescents and adults may replay the events of the day or the past over and over in their minds, as time ticks by. How easy life would be to have an on/off switch for such times, when to ‘quiet the mind’ would make all the difference. Some ‘practice calm’ through yoga, meditation etc. Some adults find sleep is hastened with the security and comfort of the white noise of television in the background. Some drift off to a favoured piece of classical music.


Some adults are fortunate to sleep relatively well, while others find themselves booked into sleep clinics for overnight study. That elusive ‘good night’s sleep’ for some is hard earned and hard won. For others, vast improvement may come with age and maturity. The latest studies point out that better sleep usually arises from retirement. For those of us who aren’t quite ready for retirement yet, the following is a small compilation of articles and research for further reading on this important issue.

Articles


“Sleep and Autism: helping your child”:

http://www.autism.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2427&a=3376



“Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite

Establishing Positive Sleep Patterns”:

http://www.autism-help.org/behavior-sleep-autism.htm



Helping your Autistic Child to Get a Good Night’s Sleep”:

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/helping-your-child-with-autism-get-a-good-nights-sleep?page=2



Night Terrors”:

Night terrors are distinctly different from the much more common nightmares, which occur during REM sleep. Night terrors are characterized by frequent recurrent episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep, with difficulty arousing the child. Night terrors are frightening episodes that disrupt family life.

An estimated 1-6% of children experience night terrors. Boys and girls are equally affected. Children of all races also seem to be affected equally. The disorder usually resolves during adolescence.

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/night_terrors/article_em.htm



Night Terrors?”:

http://www.autism-pdd.net/testdump/test14032.htm



Sleepwalking”

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/sleepwalking/article_em.htm


Counting Sheep ...

Latest Studies


Sleep: A Common Science Mystery”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/sleep-a-common-science-mystery/


Study: Melatonin Can Treat Sleep Problems Of Autistic Children”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/18/study-melatonin-can-treat-sleep-problems-of-autistic-children/


Significant Sleep Deprivation & Stress Among College Students, USA”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/significant-sleep-deprivation-stress-among-college-students-usa/


Primary Insomnia Linked to a Neurochemical Abnormality”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/07/primary-insomnia-linked-to-a-neurochemical-abnormality/


NYTimes: Gene Mutation Tied to Needing Less Sleep/Online Sleep Programs Promising in Helping Insomniacs, Studies Show”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/nytimes-gene-mutation-tied-to-needing-less-sleeponline-sleep-programs-promising-studies-show/


Treating Sleep Disorders May Ease Anxiety & Mood Disorders”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/treating-sleep-disorders-may-ease-anxiety-mood-disorders-2/


Abstract: Antidepressants and Sleep: A Review”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/20/abstract-antidepressants-and-sleep-a-review/


Does A Good Night’s Sleep Really Help?”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/19/does-a-good-nights-sleep-really-help/


Evidence Suggests Poor Sleep Increases Risk Of Depression”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/20/depression-can-make-your-brown-eyes-blueevidence-suggests-poor-sleep-increases-risk-of-depression/


Sleep and Our Sanity”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/20/sleep-and-our-sanity/


Sleep Disturbances Improve After Retirement”:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091101132537.htm


Sleep: Dreamlike Thoughts During Sleepwalking and Sleep Terror Episodes/Sleep Changes Predict Onset of Physical Changes Associated With Puberty”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/sleep-dreamlike-thoughts-during-sleepwalking-sleep-terror-etc/


Chronic Insomnia: Losing Sleep, Losing Brain?”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/chronic-insomnia-losing-sleep-losing-brain/


Therapy To Quiet Mind Eases Insomnia”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/therapy-to-quiet-mind-eases-insomnia/


Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Brain Functioning Different Than Previously Thought”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/sleep-impact-of-sleep-deprivation-on-brain-functioning-different-than-previously-thought/


Take That Nap! It May Boost Your Learning Capacity Among Other Good Things”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/take-that-nap-it-may-boost-your-learning-capacity-among-other-good-things/


Abstract: Sleep Problems In Autistic Children And In Typically Developing Children”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/abstract-sleep-problems-in-autistic-children-and-in-typically-developing-children/


Naps and Dreams Help Academics/The Secrets of Sleep”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/naps-and-dreams-help-academicsthe-secrets-of-sleep/


Sleep: Short Sleep Increases Risk Of Death And Over-Long Sleep Can Indicate Serious Illness”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/25/sleep-short-sleep-increases-risk-of-death-and-over-long-sleep-can-indicate-serious-illness/


Why Night Owls Are More Intelligent Than Morning Larks”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/why-night-owls-are-more-intelligent-than-morning-larks/


Abstract: Atypical Sleep Architecture and the Autism Phenotype/An Investigation Into Sleep Characteristics Of Autistic/AS Children”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/abstract-atypical-sleep-architecture-and-the-autism-phenotypean-investigation-into-sleep-characteristics-of-autisticas-children/


NYTimes: Phys Ed: Does Exercise Help You Sleep Better?”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/nytimes-phys-ed-does-exercise-help-you-sleep-better-2/


DSM 5 Sleep Disorders Overhaul/Sleep-Disordered Breathing Common/Sleep Apnea In Children & Teens”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/dsm-5-sleep-disorders-overhaulsleep-disordered-breathing-commonsleep-apnea-in-children-teens-2/


Circadian Rhythms, Their Role and Dysfunction In Affective Disorders”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/circadian-rhythms-their-role-and-dysfunction-in-affective-disorders/


To Dream, Perchance To Sleep”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/to-dream-perchance-to-sleep/


Sleep Case Study: There’s A Party In My Dream And Everyone’s Invited”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/sleep-case-study-theres-a-party-in-my-dream-and-everyones-invited-2/


Children and Sleeping Pills”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/children-and-sleeping-pills-2/


The Importance Of Bedtime Routines With Your Autism Spectrum Child”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/the-importance-of-bedtime-routines-with-your-autism-spectrum-child/


REM Sleep Disorder As Early Warning Of Neurologic Impairment”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/rem-sleep-disorder-as-early-warning-of-neurologic-impairment-2/


Seven Hours Sleep A Night Best For Health/Tired On Mondays? Sleep More On Weekends”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/seven-hours-sleep-a-night-best-for-healthtired-on-mondays-sleep-more-on-weekends/


Cumulative Sleep Deprivation Harms Brain and Body”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/cumulative-sleep-deprivation-harms-brain-and-body/


Books



Sleep better!: a guide to improving sleep for children with special needs”

Author: V. Mark Durrand

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleep-Better-Improving-Children-Special/dp/1557663157/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1282061487&sr=1-1-spell

Additionally …

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ~ An Inside Look”:

http://brainblogger.com/2009/08/04/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-%e2%80%93-an-inside-look/



Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”:

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatischronicfatigue/a/understandCFS.htm



Abstract: A Two-Year Follow-Up Study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Comorbid with Psychiatric Disorders”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/20/abstract-a-two-year-follow-up-study-of-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-comorbid-with-psychiatric-disorders/