Adjusting for these sensitivities—by minimizing background light or noise at bedtime, for example—could ease the children’s sleep difficulties, reports Spectrum.

Taken together, the new studies underscore the importance of helping parents to manage their children’s sleep problems, Mazurek says. She and her colleagues are testing a behavioral therapy for children with autism who have insomnia; the therapy teaches families strategies to minimize the children’s anxiety and sensory sensitivities.