Waking Up in the Middle of the Night? How to Fall Back Asleep Quickly
While many people do not have issues falling asleep, staying that way may be a big problem. There are few things more frustrating than waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. As soon as those eyes fly open, it can be challenging to drift back into slumber mode. Here are a few ways that you can fall back asleep quickly.
Avoid Looking at the Clock
The number one thing to remember if you find yourself awake during your normal sleep time is to avoid looking at the clock. Doing so will likely make you more anxious, further exacerbating the problem of insomnia. The last thing that you need is to start counting how many hours of sleep you will get if you fall asleep right away. Instead, you want to avoid looking at the clock and choose to keep your eyes closed and your mind relaxed.
Do Not Reach for Your Phone
It can be tempting to reach for your phone when you cannot fall back asleep. Many people erroneously think that playing a mindless game or surfing the web will make them tired and able to drift back to sleep. However, doing so may only serve to thwart your efforts. The blue light that emanates from your phone is known to reduce melatonin levels. This will rev up your body and mind and send the signal to your brain that it is time to start your day. Note that this rule also applies to tablets or any other electronic device.
Be Proactive About Staying Asleep
Sometimes, it is what you are doing prior to bedtime that disrupts your sleep hours down the road. The best thing that you can do to encourage a sound night of sleep is to take steps that support this effort. If you notice that it is a full bladder that wakes you up in the middle of the night, you would be wise to cut back on drinking anything a few hours prior to climbing into bed.
It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol in the hours before bed. While drinking alcohol may put you to sleep faster initially, you are also at a higher risk of waking up a few hours later. As the body metabolizes alcohol, it forms the stimulant known as acetaldehyde. This happens roughly four hours after consuming the alcohol, prompting the body to awaken if you are sleeping at the time.
One last step to take before going to bed is to write down your worries and things on your to-do list. Taking this time before getting under the covers will clear these thoughts from your mind. This will help you to sleep more soundly in general. However, it will also help you to be at peace to fall back asleep quickly should you wake up during the middle of the night.
Use Your Bed Only for Sleeping
Your bed should only be used for sleeping. If you wake up and cannot fall back asleep within 20 minutes, it may be time for a change of scenery. Getting up and working for a few minutes on a crossword puzzle at your kitchen table or writing down the thoughts that are keeping you awake can go a long way in helping you to get back to sleep. The simple physical process of crawling back in bed after your short break will send the message to your brain that it is time to go to sleep.
Practice Deep Breathing
Many insomnia sufferers find success in practicing deep breathing. Simply close your eyes and begin by taking slow and deep breaths through your nose. Be sure that your abdomen rises with each breath. Breathe and count to five or six before releasing that breath slowly to the same count. Practicing this deep breathing will relax both your body and your mind, hopefully sending you back to dream land in no time.
It may take a bit of experimenting with different techniques to find the proven trick that works best for you. However, with the right combination of tips, you will wake up feeling rested and ready to face the day.
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