Anxiety, Insomnia, and Napping Predict Poorer Sleep Quality in an Autistic Adult Population

Emma C. Sullivan, Elizabeth J. Halstead*, Jason G. Ellis, Dagmara Dimitriou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Autistic adults have a high prevalence of sleep problems and psychiatric conditions. In the general population sleep problems have been associated with a range of demographic and lifestyle factors. Whether the same factors contribute to different types of disturbed sleep experienced by autistic adults is unknown and served as the main aim of this study. An online survey was conducted with 493 autistic adults. Demographic information (e.g., age, gender), about lifestyle (e.g., napping), and information about comorbid conditions was collected. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used to assess sleep quality and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was used to assess daytime somnolence. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were used to examine predictors of each subscale score on the PSQI, as well as PSQI and ESS total scores. Results indicated that individuals who reported having a diagnosis of anxiety and insomnia were more likely to have poorer sleep quality outcomes overall. Furthermore, individuals who reported habitually napping had higher daytime dysfunction, increased sleep disturbances, and increased daytime sleepiness. These results provide novel insights into the demographic and lifestyle factors that influence sleep quality and daytime somnolence in autistic adults and can be used for targeted sleep interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9883
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2021


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