No matter what woke you up, getting back to sleep in the middle of the night can be hard. Once you start to worry about falling back asleep, it gets even harder to get that needed rest. Here are 5 tips to help you.
Get out of bed.
If you can stay relaxed, it’s OK to stay in bed. However, if after 20 minutes you’re still awake and restless, get up! It’s not time to turn on the computer or check the smartphone or turn on the TV. Got to a quiet spot and keep the lighting dim. Read something light – maybe even something you’ve read before or just listen to some soothing music.
Get rid of the clock.
Do you know that some new clocks actually come with a display you can turn off? They know that watching the clock – and the light the display gives off – isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest. So, invest in one or dim the light on your existing clock. Turn it to the wall. Put your robe over it. Quit watching it! It will only make you more anxious and wider awake.
Turn off the lights (throughout your home).
We’ve talked about not watching the clock and the light it gives off, but when you’re trying to get back to sleep, light is your enemy. Keep lights as dim as possible throughout your home. If you go to the bathroom, use a night light instead of turning on a bright overhead light – ditto, if you go to the kitchen for a glass of water.
Use visual exercises to relax.
The more you worry about getting back to sleep the harder it is. Try one of these techniques to relax. Practice deep breathing; breathe slowly and regularly from the stomach. You can add visualization – let your mind that you to your favorite place. Image the beach you love, the sound of the waves or that mountaintop with wind whispering through the pines. Use these techniques to quiet your mind.
Talk to your doctor.
If you are having trouble sleeping on a regular basis, get help. Start by keeping a sleep diary. See if you see a connection between those restless nights and what you eat or drink. You may find a pattern you can break. You can also take that diary to the doctor and see if he or she finds a link. Be sure to ask the doctor if any medications you take could be adding to the problem.
Part of getting relaxed and falling back to sleep is being comfortable. If your mattress is no longer giving you the support you need or just isn’t adding to your comfort, make the investment in a good mattress and a good night’s rest.