Being Woken up Suddenly Can Wreck Me for Days

Person lying in a hotel room bed looking as though they are having trouble sleeping or like they just woke up from a noise. Text reads, "Being woken up suddenly can wreck me for days".

This is another issue where I’m not sure if this is autistic thing or a “me” thing. Being woken up suddenly messes with me so badly!

It’s a terrifying, disorienting shock when, say somebody rings my doorbell or pounds on my door, and I’m still asleep in bed.

If I’m forced to wake up, get up, speak, and/or interact before I’m fully ready, it makes me angry, anxious, confused, and fearful.

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The best way to improve communication with your autistic loved one is to understand how your autistic loved one’s mind works! Intentions, motivations, and personal expressions (facial expressions or lack thereof, body language, etc.), are often quite different in autistic people than they are in neurotypical people.

Experience a better understanding of your autistic loved one by reading books about life from an autistic perspective as well as stories that feature autistic characters. You’ll have so many “Ah ha!” moments and start seeing your autistic loved one in a different light (and you’ll have a better understanding of their behaviors, which you may have been misinterpreting up until now).

Books I recommend for a better understanding of your autistic loved one:

Even if it’s not a really sudden wake up but ANYTHING that interrupts my sleep, my anxiety and feelings of disorientation can skyrocket for days.

I think this may have to do with sensory overload, task interruption, autistic inertia, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and something else do with my autistic brain, but I’m not sure of the particulars.

If your autistic loved one struggles to wake up, they could be experiencing similar emotions and sensory challenges.

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2 Responses

  1. Name says:

    I find being woken up really distressing, but I don’t wake up on my own until 11am-1pm, and I have to get to school by 9am. Do you have any advice?

    • jaimeaheidel says:

      I’m a night owl, too. My natural schedule is waking up later in the day. That’s just how my brain and body works. One thing that has helped me is having an alarm with a gradual tone so I don’t get JARRED awake. It starts off with a lower tone and gradually gets louder. Routine also helps a lot. When I did have to get up early, I was careful to get off my phone and just read at night, and go to bed at the same time every night, even if I’m not tired to get myself into the routine. I’m not sure how helpful this is, but I do understand what you’re dealing with.

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