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4 in 5 Autistic People Struggle to Sleep: Understanding the Effect on Slumber

Originally posted by Joy Richards – June 29, 2020 on https://www.happybeds.co.uk/

We all suffer from sleep disturbances and trouble snoozing from time to time but imagine you suffered from a lifelong developmental condition which not only affected how you perceive the woken world and interact with others but also how you sleep at night.

At Happy Beds, we believe everyone needs and deserves a good night’s sleep. So, we teamed up with the National Autistic Society to research how autistic people’s sleep is affected. Here is what we found.

Autism and Sleep Are Linked

Our survey found a good night’s sleep is important to autistic people, but few achieve it. The data revealed, on average, autistic people have six hours of sleep a night or less (68%), despite the majority stating their bedroom is conducive to sleep.

In fact, reported sleep difficulties were very common. Almost 4 in 5 people said they have difficulty getting to sleep and are restless once they nod off. A further 59% said they wake during the night, and 48% reported waking too soon in the morning.

The side effects of this disrupted sleep are tiredness during the day and mood changes, as well as wider-reaching influences on family life, school or work.

Other conditions, besides autism, were also common. Some people felt these also had an impact on their sleep. 58% claimed to be depressed, 33% have gastrointestinal problems, 25% have ADHD, and a further 8% said they suffer from epilepsy.

Autistic or not, the Coronavirus lockdown has affected us all. However, many of our respondents said they are particularly struggling to get rest during this testing time. Here are just a few of the comments made.

So, How Can You Improve Your Sleep?

Well, whether you’re autistic or not, sleep will be a struggle if you’re not comfortable and supported. So, we would always recommend investing in a quality orthopaedic mattress.

Beyond that, 59% of people surveyed said that a dark room is important for their ideal sleep environment. 41% noted the importance of blackout blinds and having bedding of a specific material, whereas background music and weighted blankets were also mentioned.

For those who would prefer not to spend money on a solution, medication and relaxation tips were recommended by our respondents. However, in their experiences, a change of diet, keeping a sleep diary, or introducing a sleep management plan had little effect on their quality of sleep.

Want to Learn More About Autistic Sleep?

For more information and tips on how you can improve your sleep, please take a look at our posts: