Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Insomnia and Aspergers


I have had to deal with insomnia for as long as I can remember. Growing up I often attributed it to have to share a bed with a sister or two or three. Often times I had to contend with too much annoying noise like my brothers snoring or talking in their sleep. Or my parents yelling, screaming and throwing things.
In my teen years I would sit up and read either my Omni magazine or any book by Harold Robbins amongst other forgotten magazines and books. Back then, there were even radio programs on like Dr. Demento or The Shadow reruns. I figured I was just a night person and that was simply the way it was.
When I was briefly married, I quickly learned that if I wanted an ounce of sleep I needed to have a bed to myself. Man, that snoring and tossing and turning of another warm body wasn't doing a thing for me.
When I was single I found that the night time hours were when my creativity turned on and I spent most nights painting, reading or building things....Time really didn't matter when I was single and unemployed :)
Whilst working in the nursing home, 3-11pm, afternoon shift was absolutely perfect. I could sit up half the night doing my thing and sleep in in the mornings..wake feeling rested at 11am and a couple of hours before work. Life was good.
Now, yeah, I sleep alone when I do get some shut eye. My current schedule is to be up till around 1 or 2 pm and get up anywhere from 8-10 am. I am lucky that I don't have a day job or anything else that I need to get up and do early.
For years I fought against insomnia with medication, prescribed and over the counter. I explored all those "remedies" doctors and friends suggested from no caffeine, warm milk, quiet time, meditation..all that jazz. Yep, sometimes it would help for a bit, mostly not.
My thinking is that the Aspie brain, in addition to having more neurons permanently turned on, has a hard time slowing down and turning off. I guess I was just born that way.
So I don't fight it so much anymore. I try and live with it as best I can. When occasion warrants an early rising I have my old standbys of either a xanax or half a dose of benadryl to help me calm down and fall asleep.
I don't have any answers....if you know of something that works or if you are an Aspie without insomnia please let me know :)

14 comments:

  1. I'm an aspie too, and I have the worst time trying to get to sleep. I stay awake until 4 in the morning and wake up at about 10, it's awful. Let me know if you find anything that works!

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  2. :) if I found something that worked, I would bottle it, sell it and make a million dollars. Thank you for writing.! If I do find something, I will definitely write about it. Take Care

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  3. Don't take this as advice, it's unhealthy and overall a bad thing to do, but I almost always have to drink myself to sleep. Nothing else works, but alcohol turns the brain off.

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  4. Hi Unknown, I understand and your words are true. I have the freedom of not having to go to work, or any place, for that matter, in the mornings. I'm able to doze in the daytime.
    Insomnia can really be a suffering. I'm sorry that you only have one source to get sleep.
    I do have an anti-anxiety med that does help tremendously. I was surprised that an anti-anxiety medication works so much better than a sleeping pill. As you stated, the issue seems to be, finding something to turn off the mind.
    I have no likeability for alcohol and I would not recommend it. But I respect you. You have found a way to cope that works for you.
    I wish you well. Thank you for sharing:) Take Care, Amy

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  5. like you, Amy, i have had insomnia all my life. right now i am trying out melatonin (3 mg) just before bed, and my doctor prescribed an antidepressant (25 mg generic clomipramine) which seems to help with the aspie/addie ocd (i have adhd too) which i take 2-4 hours before bed.

    fortunately i do not have to go to work, but i still have to function reasonably during day time. ♥♥♥

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  6. Hi, I keep hearing about the melatonin. Do you feel it helps? I agree that functioning is a good thing that's hard to do very sleepy:) thanks for writing!
    Amy

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  7. Hi, I have aspergers and have had insomnia since i was borne. I have tride everything including melatonin which does not work.

    The problem is that our brains are too active and that we are so used to over examaning everything (mainly social interaction), over analysing past and future social interactions in bed certainly does not help either.

    You need todo a few things: first and foremost you need to exaust your brain during the day, im a programmer so this is easy for me, try and find a career or daily hobby which requires much thought.

    Do some exercise (max 30 mins of intense cardio) in the morning before breakfast. This not only burns your fat before your body has any carbs to burn but speeds your metabolism and makes you feel good!

    Rest ur brain for half hour before bed, do some light reading.

    Never think about work, social or life planning stuff while you lie in bed unless they are posative. If you cant help it the consciously "tell your thoughts off" and make a massive effort to think of something else.

    Meditate while lying in bed

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  8. Hi Tom,
    I like your ideas and will try them. Thank you very much! Amy:)

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  9. Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention... Try and eat less carbs in your diet. I tend to eat most my carbs at breakfast to get me through the day, but lunch and dinner should have as few carbs as possible. Just eat more meat and veg to fill you up.

    Carbs are your brains energy, without carbs your brain will simply will not work.

    Really i think a life style change is needed to sleep properly. There is no magic cure for insomnia, at least aspie insomnia.

    When your good sleep pattern does eventually get broken - and it will - make sure you have some STRONG prescription sleep tablets, and I do mean some strong ones! Take them 2 hours before you want to sleep.

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  10. Thanks Tom! I appreciate the information. You sound like the voice of experience and expertise! Very Cool:) Amy

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  11. Hello Amy! Thanks for your wonderful blog :-) As a person who has friends, colleagues (and possibly family with Aspergers (no formal assessment done yet) I think your blog is really useful for family and friends of wonderful Aspie people too :-). Muriel

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  12. I also have had insomnia issues all my life. I used to take anything with diphenylhydramine in it to help me fall asleep, but after years of using it, it no longer had any effect. Now, for several years already, I've taken a melatonin AND doxylamine succinate. They help me fall asleep most of the time, but I do think they will lose their effectiveness before much longer. Don't know what I will try once that happens. I am enjoying reading your blog. I strongly relate to almost everything you have described.

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  13. Thanks Lee, I enjoy reading your comments and insights!

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