Behavioural treatments for sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder: a Review of the Recent Literature

Emily Pattison, Nicole Papadopoulos, Deborah Marks, Jane McGillivray, Nicole Rinehart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: Behavioural sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are common and burdensome for both the child and their family. We provide an up-to-date review on behavioural sleep interventions and their core features and conclude with expert recommendations regarding the modification of interventions for children with ASD. Recent Findings: In the past 3 years, four original research studies (n ≥ 10) have evaluated behavioural sleep interventions for children with ASD (one RCT, three pre-post studies). All four studies reported significant improvements across various sleep outcomes and daytime behaviours. The interventions varied, however, in assessment comprehensiveness, nature of implementation support, length and delivery of intervention, outcome measurements, and follow-up periods. Summary: Clinically, behavioural sleep interventions are regarded as the first-line of treatment for sleep problems experienced by children with ASD. However, there is still much to be learnt regarding their clinical effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Behavioural sleep intervention
  • Children
  • Review
  • Sleep problems

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