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autism, sleep and behaviors

Individuals with autism sometimes have problems with sleep. Not getting sufficient sleep can increase behavior problems. Often these individuals are placed on medication. However, let's also look at diet. According to one recent study, (St-Onge MP, Roberts A, Shechter A, Choudhury AR. Fiber and Saturated Fat are Associated with Sleep Arousals and Slow Wave Sleep. J Clin Sleep Med 2016;12(1): 19-24), high amounts of saturated fat and sugar and low fiber were associated with problems sleeping. More sugar and other carbohydrates excluding fiber were associated with more arousals. Low fiber and high saturated fat were associated with lighter sleep. Even though this controlled study was small with only 26 subjects and further testing is needed, unlike medications, increaing fiber and decreasing saturated fat and refined carbohydrates carry no risk for side effects and individuals will not develop tolerance.