One of the fundamental issues we Aspies face is that it often takes us a really long time to fall asleep. In fact, one of the defining cornerstones of many clinical diagnoses is that it takes the average Aspie more than half an hour to fall asleep.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t realize that most people fall asleep faster until I was told. At 24 years old. Yeah, my developmental issues are sometimes painfully apparent – but, I’m working to fix them. And if you suffer the same problem I do, here are some solutions that work for me.
1. Get rid of caffeine.
I cut out caffeinated beverages and chocolate (which has caffeine) years ago, and it shaved some time off of my sleep-inducing time. While this sounds like a trite piece of advice, it seriously works. After all, how can you sleep properly with a bunch of stimulants bouncing around in your system?
2. Plan to have longer than you need.
I hate math quizzes as much as the next guy, but here’s an easy one. If you need to sleep eight hours, and it takes you two hours to fall asleep, how much time do you actually need to allocate for sleeping? Yep, ten hours it is. You need sleep, so adapt to how much time you actually need.
3. Eat more than four hours before bedtime.
In the four hours before you go to bed, your insulin levels drop. That means that eating right before bed is more likely to make you gain fat. But aside from that, eating a short time before bed can actually hurt your ability to sleep.
It’s especially apparent if, like me, you sleep on your stomach. A full stomach does not appreciate having you lay on it.
4. Find someone to cuddle with.
If you have the ability to find a person of your sexual preference who enjoys cuddling with you, do so! Aside from the oxytocin benefits you’ll receive from the physical contact, I have anecdotal evidence that, cuddled up, I can fall asleep in five to ten minutes. Women are the best kind of pillows, IMO.
5. Exhaust yourself.
One way I’ve found that lets me get to sleep earlier is to continue onward until I am near the point of passing out from exhaustion. When I’m in a “full production” mode of writing, I will often write until 6 or 7 in the morning – and then practically crash right after brushing my teeth. It’s definitely a way to make sure you get to sleep quickly – and it gives your writing a sort of fatigued charm.
If you’ll notice, this post was published at around 4 am. Not coincidental.
6. Do it your own way.
If you all have any solutions I haven’t thought of, shout ’em out in the comments section. Granted, you don’t really need to shout – typing will do, obviously.