Examining sleep hygiene factors and sleep in young children with and without autism spectrum disorder

Amanda L. Richdale, Kimberly A. Schreck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective/background: Sleep problems are common in young children, especially young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sleep hygiene is a set of practices, which promote good sleep. However, other than bedtime routines and schedules, sleep hygiene is not often examined in this age group, or in ASD. The aim of this study was to examine sleep problems in young children with and without ASD and their relationship to sleep hygiene practices. Participants: Parents (N = 101) of young children aged 2–5 years (M = 47.5 mths, SD = 1.3) were surveyed. Children included 28 with ASD, 2 with global developmental delay, and 71 who were typically developing. Methods: A survey of sleep and sleep hygiene practices and the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) examined via parent-report sleep problems and their relationship with thermal comfort, screen time, and diet. Results: More than half of all children (55.4%; 78.6% of children with ASD) had a sleep problem. Children with ASD and a sleep problem slept fewer hours than other children, but they did not differ on their CSHQ score. Areas of sleep hygiene associated with poorer sleep for children with and without ASD included thermal comfort factors and screen usage. Conclusions: These results suggest that too much screen time may be related to sleep problems for young children with and without ASD. Parents also may need advice about maintaining appropriate thermal comfort for their sleeping child. Although these findings provide preliminary relationships and require replication and specific intervention recommendations, these results are particularly important for children with ASD who are at high risk for poor sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-162
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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