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Having hard time relaxing my mind to allow me to fall asleep.

Aspie916

New Member
I'm new here. First off, I am glad to see I am one of many on the Spectrum with major challenges falling asleep. I am certain my irregular work hours is the cause- I work at a grocery store and I never know my schedule until it's posted every Saturday. Currently, I am dealing with very over active mind, I know I should try to get to sleep at a certain time (midnight). But, since sleep is being very elusive, I am trying to keep my mind occupied on somthing else. I am not going to go to pills or aromas- I'm determined to get my sleep naturally. I have books I like to read, but I tend to get too into the content. I prefer reading non-fiction. I do have a weighted blanket that has a calming effect. A major culprit is that I don't get much or any exercise during the day. I'm sure that is why I don't get sleepy until near time get up. I am a night owl totally wanting to become a early bird. I do have a potential Monday to Friday 8-5 job I'm interviewing for (working with kids on the spectrum on life and school skills). I know, if I get the job, my sleep schedule will be needing a prompt makeover. The thing I'm hopeful for is that I get the job and I can finally have structure and a regular work schedule. I recently got myself to stop obsessing and now I just accept sleep or just rest and read. I just need to add daily exercise.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You can do a simple YouTube search on "autism and sleep",...this experience is actually common with us. Short of medications,...L-theanine (200-400mg) and Melatonin (5-10mg) works for me,...take about an hour prior to bed. Gastro reflux also also a problem that effects many autistics, as well,...and will effect sleep. Avoiding carb-laden meals prior to going to sleep will decrease the amount of acid build-up. Otherwise, there are common over-the-counter medications.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I get this on occasion, very active mind, cannot get to sleep, fortunately being retired, fall asleep relaxing on couch. keeping the air cool helps. short naps, should help
 

Silhouette Mirage

Slimepunk's Not Dead!
V.I.P Member
Sleep, for me, requires some serious grinding while I'm awake - vigorous exercise, profuse sweating, vitamins, a perfect diet, magnesium, and potentially l-theanine - and I'm still lucky to get a good 8-10 hours in one shot.

It's not perfect, but it's natural and I'm 100% against pills and drugs for myself (aside from caffeine, which is definitely not doing me any favors). I really think a lot of people can improve their sleep hygiene naturally, and I could even cut out the daytime caffeine and probably do better myself, but it's way better than it used to be.

I've got more time on my hands than a lot of people, but I also make time for my health because I'll stop functioning entirely if I don't get sleep, and to me that's well-worth the investment.

I hope you find what works for you, and stick around here of course :)
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
Melatonin
L-theanine
Magnesium
Valerian Root
Kava

For a while, I was using medications to sleep, but I managed to switch to melatonin and kava, and I've been sleeping great.
 

Nervous Rex

High-functioning autistic
V.I.P Member
Getting exercise will help. It will also help to dim the lights for a bit before you go to bed - dimmer lights sends a cue to your brain that it's bedtime.

As for thoughts - I have to deliberately choose something to think about as I go to sleep. Since my special interest is math, I choose a simple math problem to work on or rehearse. Focusing on that helps me to tune out all the other thoughts that my mind can spin endlessly on, so I can relax and fall asleep.
 

Progster

Gone sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
I find that melatonin and valerian root help. Valerian root makes me feel calmer and more relaxed. I don't know this L-theanine, that's one to look into.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
2 large Dill Pickles
2 cans cheap Cola
1 old 'light watching' film

216001633_2286280754837358_1568237340287681420_n-700x525.jpg

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Just kidding. Especially about the pickles and coke. Unless you want your stomach to explode like in the movie 'Alien'. Mine almost did the one time I tried it.
 

NDR2

Active Member
I have this problem sometimes. I use a little meditation technique to help me fall asleep. I simply pay attention to my breathing. As I’m breathing in, I think, “I know I’m breathing in,” and as I’m breathing out, I think, “I know I’m breathing out.” I repeat that until I fall asleep.
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I tend to have to wait until I'm exhausted in order to sleep. Otherwise my brain will just quickfire images and thoughts through my brain and make it very difficult to sleep.

I struggle especially when I know I have to be up for something at a certain time the next day. They're the times I suffer with insomnia.

Ed
 

The Lorax

Well-Known Member
Friendly NT here that is married to Aspie wife and has Aspie son.

#1 Exercise before bed. Normally this is something NOT recommended by people but I find when I do it forces my brain to focus on it and relaxes me. Shower then bed.

#2 go to Youtube and watch a boring lecture on something you are not interested in or is incredibly complex that is requires 100% focus. I watch Stanford U's Advanced Quantum Mechanics Lecture 1, 2, 3....zzzzzzzz after just 10m.

#3 Put away the computer/video and go out for a walk in the dark. Well unless #2 puts you to sleep

#4 Get melatonin pills, they work. 5mg should do.

#5 as you get older, 40s+ your production of the above chemical becomes less and less. It means you have more trouble sleeping.

#6 you could try watching comedian shows for distraction on Netflix. I can't they make me wake up. But it could have an opposite effect on you.

#7 If you have an amazon echo ask it "play rain sounds" or any rain sound machine.

DO NOT drink alcohol. That disrupts sleep.
 

Owliet

The Owl Lady
V.I.P Member
2 large Dill Pickles
2 cans cheap Cola
1 old 'light watching' film

View attachment 84534
Carnival of Souls (1962)

Just kidding. Especially about the pickles and coke. Unless you want your stomach to explode like in the movie 'Alien'. Mine almost did the one time I tried it.
Thanks Tom, that image is very creepy.:eek:
I tend to have to wait until I'm exhausted in order to sleep. Otherwise my brain will just quickfire images and thoughts through my brain and make it very difficult to sleep.

I struggle especially when I know I have to be up for something at a certain time the next day. They're the times I suffer with insomnia.

Ed
Similar situation for me . Usually I go to “Bed” and end up staring at the ceiling in the dark with multiple thoughts - Which is not always good Thoughts And then sleep under exhaustion. It’s especially worse when I have something the next day and I have to be there for a certain time, so mix in that good old anxiety to the mix and I usually end up falling asleep in some exhausted response and wake up with a stomach ache from anxiety. I also have a similar response to something that’s exciting the next day but don’t have the stomach ache but rather a shot of adrenaline that I can’t keep down.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I've always has similar issues when it comes to going to bed. I take a 10mg tablet of melatonin every night. With a 5mg chaser of cetirizine for allergies.
 

Progster

Gone sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
#2 go to Youtube and watch a boring lecture on something you are not interested in or is incredibly complex that is requires 100% focus. I watch Stanford U's Advanced Quantum Mechanics Lecture 1, 2, 3....zzzzzzzz after just 10m.
That sounds really interesting!! :)
 

Storm Hess

Permanent Spaceman
I use CBD or Melatonin. Sometimes I will lay there for hours with thoughts racing through my head...not being able to sleep. CBD and Melatonin have been life savers.
 

Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
Assuming you don't have a problem with your body (e.g. short- or long-term illness), the most likely issues are:

* "Swing shifts" across the 24 hour day. These are very bad news. Given a month or two you can adjust to any regular shift, but nobody can handle rapid variation on e.g. a weekly cycle.
** If you're being forced, start looking for new job. If people are "camping" the better schedules, and you're being victimized to make other people's lives easier remember: "don't set your self on fire to keep other people warm" - especially entitled strangers. Check Corporate rules, and if they are not being applied fairly, figure out a way to push back.
* Irregular sleeping schedule. Note that there's a lot of room for "regular variation" such as naps. Mankind is not "hard-wired" for 1 x 8-hours sleep, though it's one of the options
* Alcohol/drugs that "knock your body out". They can work as an occasional solution, but you'll get low-quality sleep, and it negatively affects regularity. Compare with a high-sugar diet ("empty calories") vs real food.
* Mild Stimulants (coffee, "mormon tea" etc) aren't good. Note that caffeine takes around 4 hours to get out of your system. Around 4 hours before you normally sleep, switch to a non-stimulant drink in good time (water works well :)
* Not calm when you try to sleep. "Body follows mind, mind follows body". If your mind is "running hot" when it's time to sleep, it can definitely keep you awake.
** Avoid doing anything that requires a high level of mental energy in the hour or two before sleeping.
** Learn to relax your body so the natural feedback "relaxes" your mind.
** Adrenaline is supposed to keep you awake. "Flame wars". intense FPS and RTS games etc are fun, but unwise just before you want to sleep
* Poor physical condition. A moderate amount of exercise is necessary for basic body function. AFAIK when you exercise doesn't matter too much.

For e.g. "high-intensity gamers" this sounds like the "kiss of death". But being short of sleep all the time is extremely bad for you. Again we can compare with high-sugar diets - everything seems to work, but your body is getting kicked around.
 

WhitewaterWoman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I've taken elavil for many years now which has a side effect of sleepiness. In low doses, it helps relieve some kinds of chronic pain.

Even so, for the past several years now I have had trouble going to sleep because my thoughts slip relentlessly into scenarios that have resulted in "failures," and this is really not condusive to sleep.

I read until the book or ipad falls from my hands. (Incidentally, I remember my mother doing this. I suspect she was an aspie.)

Lately, I've found 50 mg of melatonin to be quite effectice. Although this is given as a "medication," it produced by the body normally in response to fading light. Our modern electricity (and apparently blue light from electronics) hampers our ability to make melatonin. Or at least that is my understanding.
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
I've taken elavil for many years now which has a side effect of sleepiness. In low doses, it helps relieve some kinds of chronic pain.

Even so, for the past several years now I have had trouble going to sleep because my thoughts slip relentlessly into scenarios that have resulted in "failures," and this is really not condusive to sleep.

I read until the book or ipad falls from my hands. (Incidentally, I remember my mother doing this. I suspect she was an aspie.)

Lately, I've found 50 mg of melatonin to be quite effectice. Although this is given as a "medication," it produced by the body normally in response to fading light. Our modern electricity (and apparently blue light from electronics) hampers our ability to make melatonin. Or at least that is my understanding.

Where do you get 50mg melatonin? Do you take 5 pills of 10mgs? I haven't seen anything higher than 10. Or are you saying that 50mg can be prescribed? I've read that high doses of melatonin actually keep you awake. I take 0.6, and I sleep great.
 

Outdated

Active Member
I am "usually" a very good sleeper, my head hits the pillow, I blink, and 8 hours have gone by. But there are times when repetitive thoughts have kept my mind far too busy.

I don't go in for any drugs or health supplements but I totally agree with some of the other suggestions here. Physical exercise is usually helpful, an exhausted body will overrule a busy mind. For me reading books also helps, partly because my eyes get tired but also for me it's a comforting childhood memory, reading a book in bed.
 

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