How To Get Back To Sleep
If you're one of the 60 million Americans with insomnia, you know how tough it is to fall asleep or get back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. Even the best sleepers can have a bout of insomnia once in awhile. Having a toolkit of tips and tricks to help you fall back asleep can help ease the restlessness of sleepless nights. Here are 3 tips to help you get back to sleep. Want more info on this topic? Check out the Healthy Sleep Habit guide in the Free Resource Library.
1. Keep Your Eyes Open
Yep, you read that one correctly. This one is a bit of a reverse-psychology trick. While you’re first instinct might be to close your eyes and count backwards from 100 or throw on an eye mask while listening to wave sounds, the real secret to falling asleep faster may actually be keeping your eyes open. According to a recent study from the University of Glasgow, because sleep is essentially an “involuntary psychological process,” conscious efforts to try to regulate sleep – i.e. doing everything you can think of to force yourself to go to sleep when it’s just not happening – can actually work against you. Instead, you should avoid trying to control your sleep and go the opposite route: keep your eyes open, lie in bed, and relax. Ultimately, you’ll find that the less you try to get to bed, the more easily you will doze off at night.
2. Stop Checking the Clock
I hate hotel rooms, for several reasons, one of which involves the giant, illuminated bedside clock that adorn most rooms. Its lighted numbers almost dare me to stay up and watch them... All. Night. Long. When I travel these days, the first thing I do when I arrive to my hotel room is to turn the clock around so that it faces the wall instead of me. Maybe it's a small mental trick here, but I feel like I can rest much easier without those big numbers glowing in my face all night. Whether you're traveling or at home, resist the urge to look at the clock next time you wake up in the middle of the night. For some of us, a constant time check reminding us that we aren't sleeping adds more fuel to the fire. At home, I don't have this issue because I keep my alarm clock (i.e. my cell phone) across the room from my bed, which leads me to my next tip....
3. Just Say No The Blue Light Special
Before I started keeping my cell phone on the other side of my bedroom, away from my bed, I would often get up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, then end up checking my email, facebook, instagram, read a chapter of a book,.... you name it, all because my cell phone was sitting on my bedside table. Before I knew it, I had been engrossed in my phone for a few hours, all when I could have been catching some precious Zzzs. The blue lights given off by cell phones, computers, televisions, and other electronic devices are like catnip to our brains - stimulating the midbrain to stay awake and reducing the natural balance of sleep-inducing neurotransmitters. Keep your phone and other electronics away from your bedside to reduce mid-night browsing. Power tip: shut down your computer and turn off the television at least an hour before you plan to go to bed; this will send your brain the "get ready to sleep" signal.