I’ve always been sceptical about ‘advice’ when it comes to sleeping. Very few prescribed methods have worked for me. As much as I love the smell of Lavender on my pillow, it doesn’t help me get to sleep at all!
I have struggled with sleeping throughout my life. The father of my childhood friend is an osteopath, and when he lived nearby I found myself going to him for cranial massages. It was one of the few times in my life when I was able to experience good sleep on a regular basis. Alas! My friend and his father moved away. I couldn’t afford to pay for sessions with an osteopath (I had been lucky enough to have sessions with my friend’s father for free!), and so old habits fell back into place.
My sleep has been further compromised by Anxiety over the years. The root cause of my problem is an overactive imagination that is difficult to shut down. Like a lot of people on the autism spectrum, I have my own ‘world’ inside my head. Whilst being a fantasist is a huge part of who I am – and while it brings me a lot of pleasure – it does hinder me when it comes to nodding off. I think that my body has, over time, adjusted to my inability to sleep for long periods. As such, I ‘get by’ on a daily basis having had very little sleep.
But this week I have taken a stand. I have:
- Stopped watching television and using the computer before bed
- Gone to bed an hour earlier
- Stopped reading before bed (a big sacrifice for me, but reading keeps my mind active)
- Reduced any other external stimuli that might cause my mind to remain active (e.g. excessive socializing or being around bright lights)
The results are palpable. Already I feel more focused, calmer and less anxious. I’m less forgetful, less easily distracted and more capable of completing tasks in an orderly, logical manner. Even when I haven’t slept for long periods, I have still gotten out of bed the next day feeling well-rested (due to having spent more time in bed, feeling relaxed both mentally and physically). My mind, no longer racing at two hundred miles an hour, has settled down into what I call ‘standby mode’.
This is all part of my self-improvement plan for my twenty-third year. I know that if I can crack my sleep problem, I will be able to optimize the capability of both my mind and body by a thousand percent.