In-Bedroom Media Access Tied to Sleep Problems in ASD

(HealthDay News) – For boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), media-related variables impact sleep time, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in Pediatrics.

Christopher R. Engelhardt, PhD, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and colleagues surveyed parents of boys with ASD, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or typical development (TD), all aged 8–17 years, regarding daily hours of media use, bedroom access to media, and average sleep hours per night.

The researchers found that, regardless of diagnostic group, bedroom media access correlated with less time spent sleeping per night. The correlation between bedroom access to a television or computer with reduced sleep was stronger for those with ASD compared to those with ADHD or TD. For boys with ASD, the amount of time spent playing video games was uniquely associated with less sleep, in multivariate models. Hours of video game play mediated the relationship between bedroom access to video games and reduced sleep in the ASD group only.

“Further research is needed to better characterize the processes by which media use may affect sleep among individuals with ASD,” the authors write. “Screen-based media time and bedroom media access should be routinely assessed and may be important intervention targets when addressing sleep problems in children with ASD.”

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