Characterizing sleep in adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders

S. E. Goldman, M. L. Alder, H. J. Burgess, B. A. Corbett, R. Hundley, D. Wofford, D. B. Fawkes, Lily Wang, M. L. Laudenslager, B. A. Malow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


We studied 28 adolescents/young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 13 age/sex matched individuals of typical development (TD). Structured sleep histories, validated questionnaires, actigraphy (4 weeks), and salivary cortisol and melatonin (4 days each) were collected. Compared to those with TD, adolescents/young adults with ASD had longer sleep latencies and more difficulty going to bed and falling asleep. Morning cortisol, evening cortisol, and the morning-evening difference in cortisol did not differ by diagnosis (ASD vs. TD). Dim light melatonin onsets (DLMOs) averaged across participants were not different for the ASD and TD participants. Average participant scores indicated aspects of poor sleep hygiene in both groups. Insomnia in ASD is multifactorial and not solely related to physiological factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1682-1695
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Actigraphy
  • Adolescent sleep hygiene scale
  • Adolescent sleep wake scale
  • Cortisol
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Goldman, S. E., Alder, M. L., Burgess, H. J., Corbett, B. A., Hundley, R., Wofford, D., Fawkes, D. B., Wang, L., Laudenslager, M. L., & Malow, B. A. (2017). Characterizing sleep in adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(6), 1682-1695.