Sleep Patterns in Adults with a Diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Academic Article uri icon


  • To examine sleep patterns and sleep problems and their relationship with daytime functioning in adults with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and no comorbid intellectual disability (high-functioning autism spectrum disorder [HFASD]) compared to neurotypical (NT) adults.Cross-sectional.Home-based study.36 adults with HFASD and 36 age-, intelligence quotient- and sex-matched NT adults.Participants completed an online questionnaire battery including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a 14-d sleep wake diary and 14-d actigraphy data collection.Adults with HFASD had significantly more general sleep disturbances and higher scores on the PSQI, longer sleep onset latencies (actigraphy), and poorer sleep efficiency (diary) and these results remained significant after accounting for the False Discovery Rate. Those adults with HFASD who did not have a comorbid diagnosis of anxiety/depression had significantly shorter total sleep time (diary and actigraphy) compared to NT adults. Compared to NT adults, the HFASD group self-reported significantly poorer refreshment scores upon waking in the morning and higher scores on the daytime dysfunction due to sleepiness subscale of the PSQI.These findings support the notion that problems related to sleep, in particular insomnia, continue into adulthood in individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.

publication date

  • 2015

published in