Insomnia severity in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is associated with sensory hyper-reactivity and social skill impairment

Vanessa D. Hohn, Danielle M. J. de Veld, Kawita J. S. Mataw, Eus J. W. van Someren, Sander Begeer

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Insomnia is a common source of distress in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two characteristics of ASD could be relevant to insomnia complaints by hampering the entrainment of a circadian sleep-wake rhythm. First, sensory hyper-reactivity could lead to bright light avoidance and thus affect photoperiodic input to the circadian system. Second, impaired social skills complicate the establishment of a social interactions and thus affect scheduled social-behavioral input to the circadian system. We investigated the association of insomnia severity with sensory reactivity and social skills in 631 adults (18–65 years) with ASD. Results revealed positive associations of insomnia severity with general and visual sensory hyper-reactivity and with impairment of social skills. The findings warrant further studies which (1) directly assess whether a suboptimal functioning of the biological clock underlies these associations and (2) identify other factors that could contribute to observed sleep problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2146-2155
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019

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