Comparing the effectiveness of physical exercise intervention and melatonin supplement in improving sleep quality in children with ASD

Choi Yeung Andy TSE, Paul H. LEE, Cindy H. P. SIT, Eric Tsz-chun POON, Fenghua SUN, Chi-Ling PANG, James C. H. CHENG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Previous studies have demonstrated that physical exercise can modulate the endogenous melatonin level in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and improve their sleep quality. However, it remains unclear whether physical exercise or melatonin supplement, or a combination of both, is more effective in improving sleep quality in this population. The purpose of this study is to answer this research question by comparing the effectiveness of three types of interventions (physical exercise vs. melatonin supplement or a combination of both) in improving sleep quality in children with ASD. 

Methods: Sixty-two (62) children diagnosed with ASD were randomly assigned to one of four groups: cycling (n = 18), melatonin supplement (n = 14), a combination of both (n = 12), and placebo control group (n = 18). Four (4) sleep parameters (sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, sleep duration, and wake after sleep onset) were assessed. 

Results: The results revealed a significant improvement in sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, and sleep duration in all of the interventions, but not in the placebo control group. However, no significant group differences were found among the interventions (ps >.05). 

Conclusion: Our findings suggest similar effectiveness of physical exercise and melatonin supplementation in improving sleep quality in children with ASD. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online dateOct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2023

Citation

Tse, A. C. Y., Lee, P. H., Sit, C. H. P., Poon, E. T.-C., Sun, F., Pang, C.-L., & Cheng, J. C. H. (2023). Comparing the effectiveness of physical exercise intervention and melatonin supplement in improving sleep quality in children with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-023-06172-7

Keywords

  • Sleep
  • Physical exercise
  • Melatonin supplement
  • Children
  • Autism

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