Approximately one child in every 88 is on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention . Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by difficulties in the areas of socialization and communication and repetitive behaviors. Many children with autism experience difficulty falling asleep and sleep through the night.
A team of researchers from the University of Missouri recently completed a study showing that access to the TV room, computers or video games is associated with fewer hours of sleep in children on the spectrum . The study was published in the journal Pediatrics .
Christopher Engelhardt, a post-doctoral researcher in the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders and School of Health Professions MU was part of the team that conducted the research.
Dr. Engelhardt writes:
Previous research has shown that access to the media room based on the screen is associated with less time spent sleeping in the general population, . We have found that this relationship is stronger among children with autism.
Engelhardt and colleagues analyzed the use of the media and sleep among children with ASD, and compared them with children with ADHD (attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder, as well as children with normal development. they surveyed parents about the hours of media use each day, access to the media room, and typical of sleep each night hours.
as expected, the researchers found a much higher correlation between the bedroom access to a TV or computer and less sleep among children in the spectrum than the other guys. We also found that the average exposure of videogames correlated with less time spent sleeping among children . with ASD Engelhardt writes:
Although our findings are preliminary, parents should be aware that media use can have an effect on sleep, especially for children with autism. If children are having trouble sleeping, parents might consider monitoring and possibly limiting the use of media their children, especially around bedtime.
Our current results were cross-sectional, which means that we are unable to determine whether exposure to the media before sleep causes some children with autism to sleep less. However, the relationship between access to the media room and sleep was particularly large among children with autism, suggesting that we should continue to carefully investigate this possibility.
Engelhardt noted that some use of media can be of benefit for autistic children, particularly in terms of teaching and strengthening the skills and behaviors. He also stressed the importance of further research to understand how the use of media interferes with sleep.