Recommendation ID
Managing sleep problems in children with autism:- Is a sleep hygiene intervention or melatonin clinically and cost effective in the management of sleep onset, night waking and reduced total sleep in children (aged 4–10 years) with autism?
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- Sleep problems are common in children and young people with autism and have a significant negative impact on them and their parents. However, studies of melatonin have used different groups and preparations of melatonin precluding meta-analysis. The intervention should be evaluated in an RCT in 3 stages: (1) recording sleep onset, night waking and total sleep time over 3 months using actigraphy and a parent-completed diary; (2) for those with a sleep problem, random allocation to sleep hygiene by booklet or professional contact; (3) for those with persistent sleep problems after 3 months, random allocation to prolonged-release melatonin or placebo; after a further 3 months, those on placebo would be offered melatonin. It should report primary and secondary outcomes followed up at 12 months for all participants. Primary outcomes should include increased total sleep time and decreased night waking. Secondary outcomes should include improved sleep onset, a change in Aberrant Behaviour Checklist measures of behaviour that challenges, and improvement in parental stress index and satisfaction and the child's cognitive function.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management
Date issued
August 2013

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 04/09/2013