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Up to 80% of autistic people have sleep problems. Are many of them at risk of health problems related to poor sleep? https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/health-and-wellness/sleep

Interestingly, there's not that many, if any credible sources of information about the issue other than daytime functioning.

Compared to those typically developing, they tend to have trouble staying asleep, sleep less, spend more time awake in bed, take longer to fall asleep, and get less REM sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111973/

I'm autistic too and seem to average less than 6 hours a night even with white noise, black out curtains, magnesium supplementation, avoiding caffeine sources (even morning intake may affect my sleep), regular exercise (from cycling to work, active job), sunrise simulator. My family members seem to sleep better even without the sleep hacks.

The health risks of poor sleep include: Diabetes, obesity, heart problems from insulin resistance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20371664

HGH deficiency possibly affecting height (while growing), body composition, and muscle and bone health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC297368/

Low testosterone possibly affecting exercise recovery, body composition, muscle strength and mass, etc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/

Skin health (premature skin aging, breakouts, dark circles under eyes etc). http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/what-missing-out-on-your-beauty-sleep-really-does-to-your-skin-11363981593584

Increased beta amyloid. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180413155301.htm

Accumulation of sleep debt. Sleep restriction of six hours a night for two weeks is similar to pulling two all nighters in a row! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12683469

Accidents from a lack of alertness.

Increased injury risk from slower recovery from exercise.

  • It seems you have an answer within the question. Maybe you should split them up and have the answer as an answer? Bear in mind though that you may not have a complete answer – Chris Rogers May 3 '18 at 15:02
  • The studies seem to apply to the general population. When they say that autistic people tend to have sleep problems, I assume that it's chronic. I think it would be surprising if they are immune to the health effects of chronic sleep deprivation. – Brian May 5 '18 at 6:00

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