Sleep is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can be really hard to control. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Often its easy to fall right back into the realms of sleep, but other times it can be tricky.
Here are some tips for what to do if you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night, without being able to fall asleep again.
Get up and go
If you find yourself lying and trying to sleep for more than 20 minutes (should be estimated), it is a good idea to get out of bed and do something else. Read a book with dim lights, or do something calming like listening to music or a podcast. At all costs, do NOT pick up your smartphone or tablet, as these devices can cause your brain to become even more awake and radiates wakeful bluelight.
Ideally, you should not stay in bed, even for reading. This can make your brain and body associate the bed with wakefulness.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Originally used at the end of yoga classes, progressive mscle relaxation is a technique for relaxing all the muscles in the body. Start with your toes and gradually work your way up the body. Tension each muscle group for 5 second until letting it go and relax. This is really relaxing, and chances are, you will fall asleep before you reach your shoulders.
Visualization is a strong mental technique that can be used for just about everything, also sleep. Choose an environment or place you have been that you found especially relaxing. Maybe a beach somewhere? Or a camping trip in front of a fire? Visualize this scene, carve out as many details as possible. Feel the sense of relief in your body.
Light is one of the most important factors when it comes to sleep and circadian rhythm. One of the reasons you might have woken up in the first place might have been because of light. Make sure all lights from windows, other rooms and electronic gadgets are turned off. The optimal environment to sleep is pitch-dark.
Follow your normal schedule tomorrow
The best thing you can do to get your sleep on track is having a consistent schedule. Even if you have had a poor night sleep, you should not sleep in, nap or go to bed earlier in the day. You may feel a bit more tired than usual during the day, but by increasing your body’s appetite for sleep you’re ensuring a better night—and you’ll put yourself on track for sound sleep after that.
Also be sure to check out the tips for how to not wake up at night in the first place.