Autism and sleep: Gene mutations linked to poor sleep patterns

Research Summary
Meg Guard
Research Assistant

Recent findings suggest that sleep problems associated with autism may have a genetic basis.  Researchers from Japan sequenced 18 genes that control the body’s circadian rhythms in both people with autism and people without the disorder.  The findings, published in Brain and Development, demonstrated that the people in the autism group had twice as many mutations in these genes compared to the control group.  The researchers also found that the most damaging mutations were found in people with autism who had the most severe sleep disorders.  In order to further understand the effects of these gene mutations, the researchers are now looking to study whether these mutations impair brain development in mice. Read more about the genetic basis of sleep troubles in children with autism at Spectrum News.




Do you have a baby or know someone who does? With your help, we can learn about infant sleep, eating, and digestion patterns. With a big data set, we hope to identify markers for typical and disordered development. Sign up or help spread the word.