It has been too long since I have blogged, and as I look back, it is difficult to pinpoint one main cause. It was a busy fall with work and family, but I was distracted by myself more than anything else. “Why am I so worried about everything?” is the question that was driving me toward distracting myself – either with something helpful like one of my therapies, or something “not so much” – like TV and social media.
Sleep has been an issue in my life this fall. I was getting up in the middle of the night, and then I could not get back to sleep. Daytime sleepiness started to set in again. I had tried a few different CBD products (as described in an earlier blog) with diminishing effectiveness. I decided to try some high dosage melatonin, and that did seem to help. I now have more vivid dreams and can sleep until just before my alarm goes off.
I went to the mountains for a week with my wife on vacation in early November. The weather was almost perfect, and we had a great time being away from work in a beautiful setting. Hikes, walks, gallivanting around small Shenandoah Valley towns, eating in eclectic eateries, seeing parts of my state that I had not seen before – it was a great time of rest and decompression from the hectic workaday life.
We stayed in a house owned by some friends on the Shenandoah River in a quiet neighborhood. Somehow, I slept LONGER there in that mountain retreat. I went to bed at my normal time, but I slept an average of an hour and a half more each day. I don’t know what factors contributed the most to my ability to sleep longer. Could it be there was no Wi-Fi in the house? Could it be the mountain air? Maybe less stress and no work were factors, too.
Now that I have been home for a month or so, surrounded by Wi-Fi, back on a work schedule, I am still taking the melatonin. I do dream well, but I couldn’t sleep past 5 am if I tried. I’m starting to gain a little weight too – I eat when I’m trying to stay awake.
I’ll stay on the melatonin, and work on de-stressing. I’ve also started a new CBD oil – clean ingredient statement, liquid form – and I’m taking it on 12-hour cycles. I already see my mood brightening and stabilizing. Careful, Bart, don’t get too exuberant (some folks can be irritated)! Limiting TV at night before bed is a goal, too. I was encouraged to avoid the blue light from screens at night by a health practitioner I had been seeing early on in my autism journey. I’m trying to limit myself to one hour in the evenings, with at least 1 hour away from it before bed.
Another factor that may be helping – staying active after dinner. It is VERY easy for me to fall asleep at 7:30 in the chair watching TV — soon after we’ve eaten. If I have an activity – even something as banal as washing the dishes – it seems to help. The second week of December was an especially good experiment with that line of thinking. We were out 4 out of 5 nights, Christmasing with friends, family, and work associates. I’ve tried in the past to walk over to my apartment complex’s treadmill during the 8-9 o’clock hour; it helps me stay awake, but it’s not very interesting. I’ll keep making that visit once or twice a week for a 20 to 30-minute session.
If you have sleep tips, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep shifting.