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Stronger Associations Between Sleep and Mental Health in Adults with Autism: A UK Biobank Study

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JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Nov 2021
DatePublished (current) - 3 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish


This study examined sleep and its cognitive and affective correlates in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD), utilizing UK Biobank data. There were no group differences in subjective sleep duration [n = 220 ASD; n = 2200 general population (GP)]. Accelerometer measures of sleep duration or nighttime activity did not differ by group, but sleep efficiency was marginally lower in ASD (n = 83 ASD; n = 824 GP). Sleep efficiency was associated with wellbeing and mental health, and pathways between accelerometer sleep measures and wellbeing and mental health were significantly stronger for adults with ASD (who also reported substantially poorer wellbeing and > 5 × likelihood of experiencing mental distress). These findings highlight the need to monitor sleep to maintain good mental health in adult ASD.

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© The Author(s) 2021

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