Waking up in the middle of the night and realising your alarm isn’t actually about to go off just yet is one of the most frustrating feelings. Trying to fall back asleep without concentrating on exactly how long is left until your alarm sounds can be very difficult. To help you re-enter the world of sleep quickly and easily when you awake in the middle of the night, remember these six tried and tested tips.
1. Avoid Light
If you have to get up in the night to get a glass of water or go to the bathroom, avoid using bright lights. These send a signal to your brain that it’s morning and time to wake up, making it harder to fall back asleep. If necessary use a dimmed light to help you navigate your path.
2. Stop Your Racing Thoughts
If you’re thinking too hard about resting or stressful situations, it can make it harder to achieve sleep. This is the reason counting sheep became so popular! Focusing on alternative thoughts reduces stress and allows you to drift off quicker.
3. Don’t Stare at the Clock
Timing how long you’ve been awake can be stressful, making it harder to re-enter sleep. If possible, try and avoid looking at the clock more than once. If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night, remove the clocks from your room altogether.
4. 20 Minute Rule
If you find you’re lying awake for a significant period of time, try getting out of bed and doing a relaxing activity such as reading. This prevents your bed from becoming a site of frustration, which can prevent you from falling asleep easily. Doing a calming, repetitive activity also places you in a mindset more likely to achieve sleep. After thirty minutes, try nodding off again!
5. Stay Still
When you move around after waking up, it signals to your body that it’s time to prepare for the day. If possible, remain in bed, in your most comfortable sleeping position. Avoid standing, sitting or walking around to ensure your body knows that it’s not time to get up just yet!
6. Don’t Snack
While it can be tempting to have a midnight snack after waking, this actually harms your overall sleep cycle. If this becomes a regular occurrence you may start waking up in the middle of the night more often, with your body expecting food. Try soothing hunger pangs with a mug of warm milk and honey instead, which is proven to help you sleep.