Why Restful Self-Care Is So Important for Neurodivergent People

Restful Life
3 min read

Restful self-care is crucial for neurodivergent folk.

For us, rest acts as a shield against the overstimulation of our everyday world.

Neurodivergent brains often process information differently. This can lead to:

  • sensory sensitivities,
  • social struggles, and
  • cognitive demands that are draining.

Plus sleep challenges are common for neurodivergents.

Some research suggests people with ADHD might have a naturally delayed circadian rhythm. This makes them feel more alert later in the evening and struggle to fall asleep at a typical bedtime.

One study showed up to 80% of autistic children experience sleep disturbances.

Studies have also shown insomnia is common in people with PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia & anxiety.

Which means quality sleep and restful self-care can greatly improve your well-being.

What is restful self-care?

Black woman rests in a bubble bath with her eyes closed

Restful self-care is any form of rest, relaxation or rejuvenation. It’s a way to offset the exhaustion of being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world.

Types of restful self-care include:

  • naps
  • crafting
  • meditation
  • a warm bath
  • daydreaming
  • getting enough sleep
  • spending time in nature
  • listening to meditones®

6 reasons why restful self-care is so important for neurodivergent people

Life can be tough for neurodivergent people, but restful self-care can be a big help. Here are 6 reasons it’s so important:

1. Sensory Sensitivities

Heightened sensitivity to sounds, lights, or textures can lead to sensory overload.

A low-sensory environment or time in nature can ease stress and help you regulate. Rooms with low lights, minimal noise, and soft textures can help create calm.

Noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs can help minimise auditory input. This can provide a sense of control over the surrounding environment and much-needed relief.

2. Social Fatigue:

Interacting in social situations may be draining for neurodivergent folk.

So carve out some “me time” after socialising with a quiet nap or a relaxing crafting session. It’ll give you some much-needed solitude and help you feel refreshed.

Person wearing a cream sweater & white nail polish holds a white blanket over their face

You could also take breaks during events, finding a quiet space to decompress in. Remember to communicate your need for social breaks to friends, family, or colleagues.

Setting clear boundaries can help manage expectations and reduce the pressure to be social. Having a network of supportive people can provide understanding and encouragement.

You could also prepare and rehearse social scripts to navigate social situations. Having pre-planned responses can reduce anxiety and make interactions more manageable.

3. Cognitive Overload

Because neurodivergent brains process information differently, cognitive overload is common.

Practices like daydreaming or listening to meditones® provide moments of mental rest. This aids in cognitive processing and preventing burnout.

Schedule breaks during tasks to prevent mental fatigue. These allow time for rest and can enhance cognitive performance.

Establishing daily routines and predictable patterns can also reduce cognitive stress. This works by creating a sense of stability and familiarity.

If applicable, discuss potential workplace or academic accommodations with relevant people. Adjustments such as extended deadlines or modified work environments may also help.

4. Sleep Difficulties

Sleep disturbances are common, especially among autistics, ADHDers and people with hypervigilance.

Good sleep hygiene, such as consistent bedtimes and wind-down rituals, can improve sleep quality and well-being.

Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool. Consider blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine to minimise disruptions.

If poor sleep persists, seek professional help to find tailored solutions and support.

5. Anxiety and Depression

A woman with short silver hair sits behind a woman in a red top hugging her. They both have their eyes closed

It’s well-established that autistic & ADHD people face higher rates of anxiety and depression.

So it may be necessary to see a mental health professional. Preferably one with expertise in neurodivergence. Therapists can provide a tailored plan and help you develop personal coping strategies.

There is no shame in requiring help for your mental health. Asking for help is a form of restful self-care.

6. Executive Functioning Challenges

Tasks requiring planning, organisation, and time management can be challenging for neurodivergent folk.

Adequate rest, regular breaks and enough sleep can enhance executive function and productivity.

When it’s time to take a break, give your mind a rest by staring out the window. Gazing at the horizon allows your eyes to relax and induces a state of calm.

Movement breaks can also help regulate arousal and improve focus, especially in ADHDers. Getting up to move, jump, dance or even stretch can be a form of restful self-care.


Neurodivergent folk can benefit greatly from restful self-care. Taking a nap, getting crafty, or listening to meditones can help you manage sensory overload and stress

Getting enough sleep is key for your brain to function well. Even short daydreams can be refreshing. Plus spending time outdoors and movement can do wonders for your emotional well-being.

By making these restful self-care practices part of your routine? You can build resilience, avoid burnout, and live a happier, healthier life.

Discover a growing library of meditones to help you feel effortlessly calm inside the Restful app. Download for free today on Google Play or the App Store.