Asperger's and Sleep disorders / insomnia?

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blackears
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26 Jun 2011, 2:44 pm

I've read that Aspergers causes sleep disorders and/or insomnia. Is this true? Is there anything that can be done about it?



MissWiggy
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26 Jun 2011, 2:54 pm

Where did you read this? Was it some sort of scientific or medical article?

Somehow I don't think the two are related as I think sleep disorders affect people from all sorts of life and psychological makeup.... but I could be wrong!



Burzum
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26 Jun 2011, 2:55 pm

Well I definitely have a sleeping disorder of some kind. Today I woke up at 10pm. Yesterday I woke up at 5pm.



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26 Jun 2011, 2:58 pm

I do have troubles sleeping and I talk with another young aspie that has pretty rough insomnia sometimes.


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26 Jun 2011, 3:11 pm

I've had sleep issues since I was 5 years old. Mostly insomnia, although once I finally fall asleep, I generally have trouble waking up in the morning. I suppose I get about 4-5 hours per night on average. I spend about 2-3 hours each night lying in bed trying to sleep. I've heard that other aspies have the same problem, along with "early rising" which I've never had, but I don't know how strong the connection is.



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26 Jun 2011, 3:12 pm

http://www.aane.org/asperger_resources/ ... erger.html

From this article: "Melatonin is a natural brain hormone associated with sleep onset. There is some evidence that natural production of melatonin may be reduced in AS children."



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26 Jun 2011, 3:18 pm

I sleep about four hours per night, regardless of how tired I am. It's difficult to get to sleep, I awake about once an hour and it's difficult getting back to sleep, and I'm easily awakened by noise.



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26 Jun 2011, 3:44 pm

I have to wear ear plugs or I waken easily from any little sound. I also have trouble either falling asleep, or staying asleep once I have dozed off. I find that melatonin helps greatly with sleep, but does not prevent the waking too soon. I have tried using a combo of melatonin and Valerian together. It works for awhile, then stops working. Also, if I allowed it, I would fall asleep an hour later every night and wake later and later in the day. :(


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LovelyLadyDolphin23
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26 Jun 2011, 3:57 pm

If I don't get enough exercise for a day or two I'll be wide awake until 2-3am. Usually when I fall asleep it is very hard to wake me up, almost like trying to wake the dead lol. I do have problems waking up early in the morning though if it isn't part of my routine already and even when it is I'm still a zombie for an hour or two.



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26 Jun 2011, 3:59 pm

I think some of Tony Attwood's books might mention a correlation between sleep difficulty and AS. I'm not sure though, because it's been years since the last time I read them.

I used to struggle with insomnia throughout most of my childhood and part of my teenage years because my thoughts wouldn't stop racing. My anxiety disorder made it worse. I started sleeping normally when I was prescribed Xanax and Risperidone for other issues - they cause me to become so drowsy that I'm able to sleep soundly throughout the night. There have also been topics on this site where other apies have mentioned success with taking Melatonin pills.



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26 Jun 2011, 4:09 pm

I've had insomnia for 10 month and than just this past March, I've started sleeping through the night. It's very strange.


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ScientistOfSound
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26 Jun 2011, 4:14 pm

I've had BAD insomnia in the past. I started meditating and taking sleep meds, that stopped it.



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26 Jun 2011, 4:22 pm

Sometimes I can't sleep for seemingly no reason at all, although it doesn't happen very often. Maybe once a month or so. Usually I get about 6-8 hours on school nights and 9-12 on the weekends, although since I'm on summer vacation I've been getting a consistent 9 hours of sleep.

One thing that's interesting is that I'm always the least tired on Monday mornings, as compared to the rest of the week, despite the fact that I usually sleep the worst on Sunday nights because I'm hardly ever tired enough to go to bed early. I seem to get progressively more tired each morning as I start to gain a sleep deficit from getting up early on the previous weekdays.


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26 Jun 2011, 4:32 pm

I'd say it's very common to have sleeping problems with AS/ASD.

People with AS/ASD have been found to produce lower levels of melatonin, we're also more likely to have higher levels of stress or anxiety which for anyone would contribute to sleeping problems or insomnia, I'd also throw into the mix the issue of hyper-focus making us loose track of time thus messing-up our sleeping patterns and sensory issues would also contribute for some.

I've personally always suffered from sleeping problems, developing into insomnia during a particularly hard time during my teens, and as an adult I tend to find I have serious issues with sleeping patterns. Commonly I'll feel I don't want to go to bed because there is too much to do while awake - my mother explained this as 'you're scared of missing something' which is about right, I have trouble making myself turn off, I can always find something else to do instead of sleep and find I have to really force myself to go to bed. I also may not be tired or at least my brain will have trouble understanding that I need to sleep, and I get hyper-focused so lose track of time which then knocks-off my sleeping patterns and thus making it harder to get tired at a reasonable time.

I also have Wittmaack–Ekbom syndrome - this is not related to AS/ASD, however as it's a neurological disorder I do wonder if there's some connection between this and my having Asperger's syndrome. At very least this along with my sensory issues means it's impossible to sleep some days!

I've yet to find a fool-proof way of tackling the problems - some things will work and some things wont. The usual suggestions go - good sleep hygiene, take melatonin, herbal remedies for promoting sleep or dealing with stress/anxiety, and use whatever techniques or medications that work for you to deal with stress/anxiety such as emotional freedom technique or meditation.


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Dae
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26 Jun 2011, 4:53 pm

The phrasing of the question immediately made me wonder if cause and effect are getting mixed up. I also kinda suspect at times that 'sleep disorders' are really just based on work/societal expectations. If one could really sleep at any time and/or at the times they're tired (as opposed to fulfilling others' scheduling expecations...i.e. being to work at 6:00, being to school at 8:00, etc.), then many many more of us would display the sleeping behaviors currently designated as being 'disorders'. We'd take many little naps (like our cats), sleep as late in the mornings as our bodies/minds need - without stigma, and we'd stay up way past our 'bedtimes' without others warning us 'you're goinna be sorry...'. And we'd eventually create a sleeping consistency NATURALLY (a consistency that could be used when making decisions about scheduling other big pieces of life - such as work). The 'trick' is to build a life that better fits one's sleeping needs (among other needs) as opposed to tailoring (at times, read: denying) one's primary needs to others' artificial/unnecessary/power-playing expectations/demands (that they sometimes don't meet themselves!). ...Two of the best books I've ever read included community mentality that those sleeping SHOULDN'T BE WOKEN except in extreme emergency (which, of course, didn't include unrealistic work scheduling or phone calls). :) What a fantasy, eh?

But speaking seriously (or WRITING seriously ha!) now... I think a better understanding of one's own bio-rhythms helps. Making the decision to pursue a work position that starts at what is to you an ungodly hour is more along the lines of a punishment as opposed to a sound business decision. Also understanding the forces that could impact or change (whether temporarily or permanently) your bio-rhythms helps in decisions re should work hours be changed, should evening classes replace daytime ones, should a 'tricky' meeting or test be scheduled in the morning or the afternoon, when is the best time for you to sleep, do changing seasons affect all the above answers... lots of questions that somehow get completely overlooked in the name of the 'you-get-to-sleep-only-at-my-convenience' tyranny too many of us experience...

And too many folks using the 'disorder' card to condemn behavior they find disagreeable. Waking up several times during a sleep period (which, really, could be construed as natural occurrences rather than the panic-inducing feeling of being cheated our full time of rest), feeling pressured or anxious about sleep, feeling there are things left undone, ...thinking one doesn't sleep 'right'... some of this really just seems yet another way to 'prove' something's 'wrong' with a particular person - and that it MUST be FIXED if one is going to function in society. Some of the expectations themselves need to be questioned (much like, if one doesn't do well on the how-often-do-you-have-sex poll, some conclusion of unwanted deviance is assumed). The way one sleeps could/should be made to seem more appropriate and acceptable if a more human-oriented (read: HUMANE) standard is applied. I've found that if I not only tried tailoring my life a bit more around my abilities (sleeping and otherwise) but ALSO judging my sleeping 'success' with different parameters, it led directly to a decrease in the pressure (and inevitable insomnia). I didn't try living up to someone else's idea of how I should sleep and, so, ended up sleeping much 'better'. :lol:


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Lucywlf
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26 Jun 2011, 6:35 pm

I cannot remember a time when I didn't have sleep issues, usually insomnia. It takes forever to go to sleep and then I wake in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. It was torture when I was a child because we had a "no lights, no sound" rule at night. Now I get up and use the computer or read all night.

I am able to get by when I can create my own schedule; I find it easier to sleep in the daytime ironically even though I need dark and quiet at night. Trying to stay on what the world calls a regular schedule is torture for me.