Waking up in the middle of the night is not fun. It’s one of the quickest indicators of a terrible morning, often ignited by stress, anxiety and too much alcohol.
While being awaken by pets or babies is easier to recover from, waking up for seemingly no reason is more difficult to deal with. Often what happens when our sleep is disrupted in the middle of the night, our minds begin to race until we can finally fall back asleep, which can sometimes take hours. This can be frustrating when we have to function for work in the morning.
Our sleep goes through stages. We fluctuate between light and deep sleep as the night goes on, making it easier to wake up and stay up if we’re in one of the lighter stages. Waking up and then going back to bed is not a problem; the real issue is waking up and being unable to fall back asleep. This could be a sign of sleep disorders or an underlying issue, like stress, pain or asthma.
Here are some tips that can help you get back to sleep:
Work on your sleep hygiene
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Developing a bed time routine is one of the most efficient ways of creating a smooth bedtime. Try to get your body ready for bed by putting together a routine that works for you and is easy for you to remember, whether that’s brushing your teeth, putting your phone away, or listening to meditation. Limit the amount of blue light (iPhone, laptop, etc.) you expose yourself to and avoid caffeine in the evenings and afternoons. While there’s no way to ensure that you’ll get a full night’s sleep, you can improve your odds by creating and sticking to new habits.
Do your best to not stress out in bed
One of the most harmful parts of sleepless nights is how easy it is for them to become recurring. When we lie in bed without sleeping, enduring anxious spirals, we create a precedent, making it more likely for us to keep repeating this behavior. If you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, get up from bed and do something soothing, associating the moment with something positive. Read a book or fold laundry. This prevents anxiety, keeps you busy and might put you back to sleep.
Talk to an expert if it’s becoming a recurring problem
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If insomnia continues to bug you, it’s important to talk to someone about it, preferably a sleep expert or psychologist who can help you resolve the problem. Sleep issues are too common, often going unaddressed. They can easily seep into the rest of our lives, affecting our productivity, moods and relationships. More concretely, lack of sleep can also have larger health implications, being correlated with heart disease, diabetes, depression and more.