Day 13 - Sleep

Today I made it to Carcassonne, and instead of the nice smooth road surface it has been for most of the trip it was gravel and dirt. That was a bit of a shock to the system, but the bike handled well (possibly better than I did). I have a choice for tomorrow, smooth road with climbing or a flat ride with more gravel. I will see how I am feeling in the morning!

In either case tomorrow will end in another rugby town, Béziers. Thank you to for the messages in response to last night’s blog about the Warriors and rugby. Unfortunately, or fortunately I don’t think I can do a blog like that every night. I am not carrying enough tissues with me, and the folk in the Café were giving me funny looks. The subject of tonight’s blog though is sleep.

Sleep is something that a lot of us take for granted. Tonight is my 15th night away from home, in my 13th different bed (it is something like that anyway) and while at first I might have had issues getting to sleep that is no longer the case. In contrast sleep might not be so easy to come by for someone on the autism spectrum.

A number of the issues which exacerbates a person’s autism may also stop them from sleeping. Some of you will recognise examples such as difficulty winding down, waking repeatedly during the night, an inability to relax. There may also be other causes that are more specific to a person’s autism, eg sensory sensitivities (such as white noise or sensitivity to blue light from screens), or social cueing problems where an autistic person does not make the connection between others in the house going to bed and the face that they too should be sleeping.

There are a number of ways to address these challenges, for example keeping a sleep diary and establishing a reassuring routine. Depending on what is causing the issue with sleep it may be good to make changes to the bedroom to reduce any sensitivity issues. For example, black out blinds or thick carpets to dampen sound. Diet and medication are other factors that may be considered.

I am looking forward to Montpellier where I have the luxury of two nights in a row in the same bed. Next week I have two nights in a row in a Premiere Classe hotel, so that will be just like being in the same bed two nights in a row (to plagiarise a tweet from Ned Boulting about another French hotel chain, the issue is when you open the curtains, you try to remember where in France you are, and why the hell you are there). But for now, I am off to bed.

Thanks for reading,

Neil