Meet My Brain - A Field Guide to Autism

Awake at 3 a.m.

November 08, 2022 The Autistic Woman
Meet My Brain - A Field Guide to Autism
Awake at 3 a.m.
Show Notes Transcript

If you’re autistic you DO have trouble staying asleep. Thoughts race, blankets get scratchy, dehydration sets in. Or that’s what it feels like when your brain comes up with reasons to be awake at 3 a.m.

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Awake at 3 a.m.

You know how you go to bed determined to get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what it’s like when I find myself awake at 3 a.m.

Oh, it’s only 3, I’ve got a few more hours.

That’s plenty of time before the alarm goes off. 

[Sheets ruffling]

It’s only 3:10 now, maybe I’ll get a drink of water.

[Water pouring sound]

Ah, yes, perfect. Now I can sleep.

It’s cold in here. I need another blanket. That will help.


What now? My back is itching. Why for no reason does my back start itching. 

I’m still cold. One more blanket will help. Okay, maybe 2 so I don’t have to get up again.


That’s better. I’ll be warm in a minute and I can fall right back to sleep.

Ugh my back hurts. I’ve been laying in this position too long. I’ll just turn over. 

[Sheets rustling]

So tomorrow when I get to work I’m going to ask about that new policy…stop! 

I’ll ask for a written copy? Stop, no more scripting!

I need more water. I’m too thirsty to sleep.


[Water pouring sound]

I’m all hydrated now. On to dreamland.

What time is it? Don’t look at the clock, don’t look at the clock.

[Clock ticking]

Maybe ear plugs will help.

I think I’ll talk to Bob when I get to work tomorrow…stop!

What if I don’t hear the alarm with these ear plugs in? I’ll turn it up.

Meditating works, right? Listen to your breathing. In, out.

[Deep breathing]

It’s only been about 5 minutes, right? I have plenty of time to get to sleep.

My nose is stuffy. I’ll get up and get a tissue.

Ah yes, that’s better. 

I don’t think I’ll hear the alarm. I’ve got to take these ear plugs out.

My right knee hurts when I lay this way. I need to change sides again.

[Ruffling sheets]

That’s not helping. I’ll get up and put on that knee brace.


Now my feet are cold. I need socks.

What? It’s 4:15!

Why is this song stuck in my head?

What time is it now? Don’t think about the time.

There’s no way I’ll stay awake until the alarm goes off. I have to fall asleep right?

What’s wrong with this pillow? Can’t they make a comfortable pillow? 

[Pillow fluffing]

I went to bed at 10, woke up at 3, that’s enough, 5 hours is enough right? 

I have to get up and go to the bathroom.


Ah, yes, so I’ve taken care of everything that could keep me awake and now I’ll fall asleep.

Maybe if I lay on my back.

[Sheets ruffling]

My back hurts. It’s this mattress. It’s got to be. What else would keep me awake.

[Car door close]

I think I heard the front door. No that was a car door. Who is driving around at this time of night? Can’t they be a little quieter?

It’s been an hour, right? Ugh.

It’s too bright in here. I’m getting my sleep mask.


That’s better. Now where was I? Meditating.


I’m sleeping. MEOW. You’re not coming into this room when I’m sleeping.

Maybe just resting is good enough, right?

I’ve heard that you can actually be asleep and think you’re awake.

What am I supposed to take to work tomorrow?


I’m going to feel tired today. I need sleep!

I’m about to fall asleep I just know I am.

[Alarm rings]