Sleep with Autism and Apergers
It’s well known just how disruptive it can be to try to operate with inadequate sleep. It’s just as bad as being drunk. You can’t focus. You can’t think straight. You miss social cues. You’re clumsy. You’re anxious.
And many people on the autism spectrum suffer from trouble sleeping.
It’s easy sometimes to think of sleep as a minor thing. After all, don’t college students stay up all night partying? Don’t medical students routinely work 24 hours straight at the hospital?
While it does happen sometimes, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. A lack of sleep is incredibly dangerous. It creates a wealth of other issues.
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
I’ve dealt with sleep issues for decades. Here are my recommendations for getting a good night’s sleep.
Cut down on Caffeine and Sugar – This is key. If your body doesn’t have caffeine and sugar creating highs and lows, it makes sleep and so many things so much easier.
Reduce Screen Time – The blue light of TV and tablet screens impacts how our day/night cycle works. If you reduce screen time at the end of the day, it greatly improves sleep.
Exercise – Your body has its cycles that it expects. If you have daily exercise in your routine, your body then needs sleep to recuperate. You don’t need to run a marathon. Even gentle walking helps with sleep.
Light – Your body reacts powerfully to light cycles. During the day, get ample exposure to light. At night, turn off ALL lights. Get light-blocking shades. Light-blocking curtains. Cover up lights on devices. Avoid night lights. The darker you can make the room, the better you will sleep.
Sound – I can’t sleep if I hear random sounds. They wake me up. I run a HEPA air filter in the room which creates a steady drone sound. That covers up any other sounds and lets me sleep. You can use a fan, an air filter, a noise generator, whatever it takes. The idea is that that steady sound creates a baffle which shields you from sudden noises which might wake you up.
Cool – Our bodies are designed to sleep in cool environments. You want it to be cool with a heavy blanket on you. That’s just the right combination. If it’s hot out, use AC. If it’s cold out, find that right balance that is still cool but not frozen. Then add a heavy blanket.
Let me know what other suggestions you have!
Illustration of person sleeping sourced from Pixabay / CDD20