7 Ways to Get Back to Sleep
It's the middle of the night and you're wide awake. You need to be rested for your big day at work tomorrow. What can you do to get back to sleep?
1. Get Out of Bed
If you wake up and can't fall back asleep within 20 minutes or so, go to another room.
Do something quiet and non-exciting, such as listening to soothing music or reading something you've read before.
When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.
2. Don't Stare at the Clock
Frequently checking the time will only add to your stress when you wake up and can't get back to sleep. Try turning the clock away so it's out of your sight line.
3. Keep the Lights Low
Light instantly affects your alertness level. If you get up to go to the bathroom, get a drink, or have a light snack, keep the lights low.
If you try to read, use a low-powered reading light. Avoid using back-lit screens such as computers, televisions, cell phones, and other devices.
4. Try Relaxation Techniques
Calm your mind and relax your muscles by using the relaxation technique that works best for you. Some methods you can try:
Deep breathing. This type of breathing, slow and from the diaphragm, mimics the way you breathe during sleep.
Meditation. This technique uses rhythmic breathing plus an image or a repeated phrase to quiet your mind.
Visualization. This is a type of meditation. It helps you distance yourself from stress by imagining the sights, sounds, and scents of a peaceful place.
Progressive muscle relaxation. It involves alternately tensing and relaxing muscles throughout your body, starting with your feet and working your way up.
You can learn these techniques by taking classes or using self-guided books or videos. You can also learn these methods from online videos or articles.
5. Try Biofeedback
This advanced technique requires special equipment and training from a specialist. But it can help you learn ways to control your own levels of tension.
Once mastered, biofeedback training can help you get back to sleep.
6. Keep a Sleep Diary
This isn't something you should do in the middle of the night. But during the daytime, keep a record of your sleep patterns and other habits.
For instance, write down how often you woke up during the night, what disturbed your sleep, and how much caffeine or alcohol you had during the day.
Then take the sleep diary to your doctor. It will help the two of you plan a strategy for getting better sleep.
7. Ask Your Doctor for Medication
Check with your doctor about prescription medication that can be used to help you get back to sleep.