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Aquatic Exercise and Sleep in Children with Autism

aquatic exercise sleep autism

The Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities published research on whether participation in an aquatic exercise program improved the sleep in 8 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Using an A-B-A withdrawal design for 4 weeks of each phase, the children participated in 60 min of aquatic exercise 2X/week. Data was collected via phone interviews with parents who were asked questions related to sleep latency, nighttime wakenings, and sleep duration.

The results indicated the following:

  • there was a statistically significant difference for sleep latency and sleep duration in the children with ASD following aquatic exercise.

The researchers concluded that participation in aquatic exercise may improve the sleep habits of children with ASD.

Reference:  Kathryn N. Oriel, Jennifer Wood Kanupka, Kylee S. DeLong, and Kelsie Noel.  The Impact of Aquatic Exercise on Sleep Behaviors in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities December 2016 31: 254-261, first published on November 25, 2014 doi:10.1177/1088357614559212

Autism Sleeps™



Autism Sleeps™ is an easy-to-read manual to help people with sensory processing difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders or a restless mind, achieve an overall healthy sleep experience.  It serves as a thorough resource of sleep sensory strategies and suggestions for preparing the “sleep environment”. Sample bedtime and wake-up routines are provided as templates, especially to guide parents of children with sleep difficulties.  Find out more information.