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Sleep and Autism

Sleep and Autism

Sleep or a lack thereof tends to be a problem when you can’t get your mind to shut down for the night or your mind is racing with the issues of the day. Many people with autism struggle with sleep and some have sleep disorders that affect their ability to sleep. There hasn’t been a lot of research done on this side of the struggles with sleep and autism. The issue is that many autistics struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night thus it messes with the circadian rhythm. What does a lack of sleep cause for many people with autism? Limited understanding of social cues, difficulty understanding social cues, attachments to patterns that aren’t associated with sleep, and disruptive behaviors. There are many factors that can play a role in sleep that may be affecting the quality of how well you sleep throughout the night. The ages of the mattresses and pillows, lights, sounds, and even blankets. Make sure these are well kept and taken care of as the need arises. 


There are ways to help people get better sleep and I will show you a few of mine and how they have helped me. One thing is that staying out of my bed and watching my favorite show in the living room helps me navigate my sleep patterns more efficiently. It may not be the most conducive to what many medical professionals would tell you to do but here’s why it helps me. One, I’m not jittery in my bed nor am I trying to force my body to go to sleep. Another trick is meditations or certain sound frequencies being played at night. I have a sound machine and love the sound of the waves rolling on the beach. It has helped me so much when my mind is racing from one extreme to the next. I also love a good cup of calming tea. The teas that I use vary from night to night, but they will usually knock me out before half an hour has passed. I also have tried hot chocolate and tea in different cups at the same time which can be a bit of a struggle finding the right balance of flavors; however, I have noticed that something warm and soothing will help me go to sleep very quickly. I also have a bunch of eye masks and a weighted blanket. The pressure from the weighted blanket feels like a hug of some sort and the eye mask keeps me from waking up throughout the night. 


For me, sleep is a struggle even with all the ways around it. I struggle with both falling and staying asleep. Having patience and finding your own path with sleep may help you discover better ways to fall asleep and stay asleep. Start slow when it deals with going to bed earlier. I say that often and struggle with my time for sleep. Just know that you’re trying your best. I know that sleep can be a struggle, but it will help you feel better about yourself and feel more motivated to take on the day. Learn from your mistakes with sleep patterns and try to figure out how to improve as the weeks progress. Soon, you, too, will enjoy a good night’s rest. 

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