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Management of sleep disorders in neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic syndromes

Helen S Heussler
Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2016, 29 (2): 138-43

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Sleep disorders in individuals with developmental difficulties continue to be a significant challenge for families, carers, and therapists with a major impact on individuals and carers alike. This review is designed to update the reader on recent developments in this area.

RECENT FINDINGS: A systematic search identified a variety of studies illustrating advances in the regulation of circadian rhythm and sleep disturbance in neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific advances are likely to lead in some disorders to targeted therapies. There is strong evidence that behavioural and sleep hygiene measures should be first line therapy; however, studies are still limited in this area. Nonpharmacological measures such as exercise, sensory interventions, and behavioural are reported. Behavioural regulation and sleep hygiene demonstrate the best evidence for improved sleep parameters in individuals with neurodisability.

SUMMARY: Although the mainstay of management of children with sleep problems and neurodevelopmental disability is similar to that of typically developing children, there is emerging evidence of behavioural strategies being successful in large-scale trials and the promise of more targeted therapies for more specific resistant disorders.


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