People with developmental disabilities sleep less and experience higher incidence of clinical sleep disorders than the general population. Exploring the neurophysiology linking sleep with daytime performance in patients with developmental disabilities is now possible using minimally sufficient sleep and sleep-sensitive behavioral assays. Although frequent sampling represents the primary difficulty, it is required to untangle coincident effects of sleep quality amidst circadian variation. Recent evidence finds high quality sleep promotes brain plasticity, improves health measures, and enriches quality of life. Sleep treatments for apnea, insomnia, restless limbs, and conditioned sleep-aversion are available, although not readily provided, for people with developmental disabilities. This population would gain both clinical and behavioral benefits as improved sleep-monitoring, behavioral testing, and sleep-treatment technology is adapted to their needs.

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