Autistic people, often have trouble falling and staying asleep.

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge and work through the day’s events. Not getting enough sleep can affect mental health and behaviour.

Here are a few things we can try to help get a good night’s sleep.

Bedtime routine

Creating a bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it is time to sleep. A few things you can add to your routine are:

  • Having a shower
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Putting your pyjamas on
  • Reading a book.

Try to keep the same sleep and wake up times every day, and start your routine at least one hour before bedtime. You could set a timer on your phone or tablet to help you to remember when to start your routine.

Sensory overload

Sensory overload can cause your brain to become overstimulated; this can make you feel more awake.

Try turning down the lights in the room and playing some gentle music. If you prefer the quiet, put some headphones on to help you relax and unwind ready for bedtime.

Weighted blanket

Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation to help promote the feeling of calmness and relaxation.

It is important to speak to a healthcare practitioner to make sure your blanket is safe for you; it must be the correct weight and size for your needs.

Screen time

The blue light on your screen makes your brain think it is daytime and wakes it up when it should be preparing to sleep.

If you need to use your devices in the evening, try using a blue light filter; set it on a timer to switch on automatically in the evenings to help reduce the effects.

You should also try to reduce your screen time at least one hour before you are going to sleep to help your body prepare for rest.


When you are surrounded by things that can distract you, such as TVs, devices, games consoles and social media, it can be tempting to spend hours engaging in these activities.

This can stimulate your brain and make it difficult to sleep. If you struggle with this, try removing things like TVs and games consoles from your sleeping area to reduce distractions.

Avoid caffeine

Food and drinks containing caffeine, including chocolate, are stimulants that work to wake up the body and stop you from falling asleep.

Avoid eating or drinking caffeinated products at least three to four hours before bedtime.

Eating a balanced diet

Research has shown that eating a balanced diet helps the body run more efficiently and promotes better sleep. Add regular eating and drinking times to your daily routine to help keep you on track.


Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in your body that help with regulating your mood, sleep and digestion. Adding regular exercise to your daily routines, like walking or swimming, can help with a good night’s sleep.


Practising meditation can help relieve stress and anxiety, and it can also help to relax the mind and body. Try adding a meditation session to your daily routine to help calm and relax you.


When you have a lot on your mind it can be difficult to relax and unwind. Try writing or drawing your thoughts down in a journal at the end of each day.

If you are struggling or worried about your sleep patterns, speak to your GP to get some help and advice.

If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or suicide, it is important to speak to someone, contact one of the services below and get some help:


Whatever you’re going through you can call us any time, from any phone for free on:

116 123


The UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service, provides free, confidential, 24/7 text message support in the UK for anyone who is struggling to cope. This service is free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis, anytime.

Text SHOUT to 85258.

Central Access Point

If you are in need of urgent NHS mental health support, you should call the Mental Health Central Access Point which is open 24/7.

Call: 0808 800 3302

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