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How to fall back asleep if you wake up?
We’ve all experienced occasional night when our sleep gets disturbed. You wake up and try to go back to sleep, but can’t.
A common sleep disorder called sleep maintenance insomnia is waking up in the middle of the night (or in the middle of a sleep cycle) and being unable to fall back asleep. When you have long stretches of any kind of insomnia, you would first want to arrange a doctor’s appointment to make sure that behind those sleepless nights there are no underlying medical conditions. But if your doctor says you’re all clear, your sleeplessness may be triggered by anxiety, stress, and/or other poor sleep hygiene habits you may want to change.
Don’t worry, implement these 8 tips in no time to fall asleep.
8 ways to help you fall back asleep if you wake up
1. Forget time
Starting at the minutes goes by and knowing how much sleep you lack will only stress you out, stimulate your nervous system and make you feel more alert rather than sleepy.
Turn the face of the clock away from you or completely remove it from your bedroom.
2. Try breathing and muscle exercises
Relax your mind and body by giving your mind something else to concentrate on in addition to the fact that you can’t fall asleep. Progressively tense and relax each of your muscle groups, or do deep breathing exercises, from your head to your feet.
- Completely exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
- Keeping your mouth closed, inhale through your nose for 4 counts
- Hold your breath for a count of 7
- Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8
- Repeat this process 3 more times for a total count of 4 breath cycles
These movements are enough to give a focus to your brain, but not too energizing to wake up your body.
3. Distant yourself from devices
It’s easy to relax by browsing Instagram or watching Netflix. Yet resist the urge from using your phone or iPad.
These devices contain blue light that energizes the brain and tricks it into believing it’s daytime, so the longer you look at it, the more awake you feel.
4. Mediation might help
Alternatively, stay calm with meditation or visualization. In addition to your stress about staying awake, concentrate your attention on something.
You can find apps that provide guided meditation (just quickly open them, open the device, and put your phone at a distant).
5. Still awake after 15 minutes?
We know, we know, we’ve asked you to get rid of your clock, so how should you know if you’ve spent 15 minutes? If it seems as though more than 15 to 20 minutes have gone by, get out of bed and leave the bedroom.
Sit on the sofa or perform a slow, low-key task in another room with low light. The key is to stop the connection of your bed with sleeplessness in your brain.
6. Make yourself bored in a different room
You can knit, draw, listen to a low-level podcast or quiet music, or read a book (but not an e-book). Perform simple math issues in your brain, or count over and over from 1 to 100. Keep busy until you’re tired enough to go back to sleep.
Don’t eat. Eating energizes your body and you don’t want your brain to start thinking that midnight is a good time to wake up and begin to eat.
7. Keep cool and dark. Avoid the heat
Don’t turn the lights on. Get a motion-activated nightlight, so it only turns on when you’re wake up and need to leave the room during those nights.
Remember to go to bed naked when you woke up from night sweats and make sure the thermostat is set to a cool if the room is too hot.
8. Listen to music
You don’t need to research science to tell you that listening to music will soothe your mind and help you relax, but it’s here anyway. Research shows that music can have a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and preparation for sleep. It can slow down your heart rate and breathing, lower your blood pressure, and even relax your muscles— the biological changes you undergo when you sleep.
Want more tips?
- Create a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. Drink a cup of caffeine-free tea, take a hot shower, or listen to soft music, for example. Avoid the use of screen-based electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones and ebooks in front of bed.
- Dedicate your bedroom conducive to sleep. Keep light, noise, and temperature at comfortable levels that will not disturb your rest. Do not engage in any other activities in your bedroom other than sleeping or sex. This will help your body know it’s sleeping in this house.
- Avoid coffee, caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol several hours before bedtime. Both alcohol and caffeine may interfere with sleep.
- Don’t smoke. The use of nicotine can interfere with sleep in addition to smoking as a major health risk.
- Start exercising. But bear in mind that exercising too close to bedtime will interfere with sleep.
- Only go to bed when you’re sleepy. If at bedtime you’re not asleep, do something soothing to help you wind down.
- Try to wake up at the same time every day. If during the night you experience increased awake time, resist the urge to sleep in.
- Avoid taking a nap during daytime. You will throw off your sleep cycle by napping.