There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep. You’re tossing and turning and racking your brain trying to come up with anything that might help you get back to sleep. Is there anything that can help?
There is…and it’s actually a pretty simple technique that doesn’t involve sleeping pills.
I was in that dreaded no-sleep zone the other night. It was 3:47 a.m. when I woke up, for no apparent reason. I lay there for about 15 minutes thinking about anything and everything that could be a potential cause of stress before deciding to get up, go to my living room, and do some reading. By about 4:15, I was zonked, so I went back to my room and fell right asleep for the rest of the night.
Insomnia? Get Out of Bed
Apparently I did the right thing. Experts suggest the best way to fall back to sleep after you’ve unexpectedly awoken in the middle of the night is to get up out of bed and do something quiet, like reading or knitting. It somehow restarts the slumber process so that you’re ready to get back to sleep.
When your sleep is interrupted, be absolutely sure to stay away from screens like your smartphone, television, computer, or tablet, while also steering clear of the fridge. Bright lights and food can stimulate your body to keep it awake, thus making a long, frustrating night even worse. An added negative is the fact that all those extra calories won’t do you any good, either.
It should be noted that waking up a couple of times per night isn’t particularly uncommon or something worth worrying about—unless you’re unable to fall back asleep. Chronic insomnia is a debilitating condition that can severely lower your quality of life.
If you’re chronically unable to fall back asleep, try getting out of bed and reading something light. You can also make a few lifestyle changes that are helpful. Getting more activity, such as walking or swimming, and trying techniques like yoga, mindfulness, and deep breathing can all help calm the nerves for more consistent sleep.
About 40% of people will experience trouble sleeping at some point in their lives. If you’re unlucky enough to fall into that pretty hefty percentage, then knowing how to deal with it can reduce stress, improve your overall health, and actually reduce chances of injury during waking hours.
Sources for Today’s Article
CBC News, “Tips to Deal with Insomnia,” CBC News Facebook Feed, July 21, 2016; https://www.facebook.com/cbcnews/videos/10154450678404604/m, last accessed July 25, 2016.