Sleeper’s Block?

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.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle – the blogger lies around, Mini engine in idle nearby, thinking, “Does anybody read this junk?”
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Published by Bart Shoaf

Blogging about victories and challenges as a middle-aged man with a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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