You wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Fun. Ok, let’s think this one through. Falling asleep is a passive act. Our natural sleepiness cannot be forced. So why try? Try to be indifferent about being awake. Shrug, get out of bed, keep the lights dim, and go do something quiet somewhere else, like in your living room. Keep things low tech, low light and low noise. No TV, no computer, no cell phone, no back-lit reader.
So what might you do? Consider something enjoyable. Reading (paper book, not an electronic reader) is great, but you don’t have to read the dictionary or War and Peace. Novels are good because they tell a story and are organized into chapters. If low vision is an issue, how about an audio book? Maybe some quiet music. I hear knitting is enjoyable. Hungry? Have a light snack. Don’t reorganize your garage or bake a bunch of cookies in your brightly lit kitchen, or start preparing next year’s taxes. What about those old photos you’ve been meaning to organize, that silly dice game that’s kind of fun, or that numbers game that’s so popular, what’s it called? Lastly, you might consider just going outside in the dark for a few minutes. The darkness and cool air can help to settle you down.
Keep away from your bed until strong natural sleepiness has returned. If it doesn’t, don’t panic. Find out in tomorrow’s post what to do (and not do).
You’ll love this one. What’s the first thing people do when they wake up in the middle of the night? About 99.9% of people with insomnia check the time. Guess what? Clever scientists determined that people sleep better and are a lot less anxious about their sleep with no clock available. Why? It turns out that simply knowing the time at night makes us worry about not sleeping. It also makes us do math to figure out how long we’ve been awake and how long until morning. Wasn’t 10th grade algebra bad enough? Besides, what does it matter that it’s 3am WHEN it’s 3am? Got somewhere to go? Didn’t think so. Don’t check the time at night. And if you don’t know what to do with your clock, Otis can come chew it up for you 🙂
Have trouble getting back to sleep? Do you leave the bed or stay and try to tough if out? What if you didn’t know what time you wake at night?