It is normal to struggle occasionally to fall back to sleep at night, but when the nights become a common occurrence it is sound to look into possible cause. Insomnia, stress, an inadequate sleep routine, and an unhealthy lifestyle may all be factors in staying awake at night. An uncertain and racing mind as well as anxiety can further contribute to a poor night's sleep. According to medicalnewstoday The following strategies can help you fall back to sleep when you wake up at night with difficulties sleeping.
1. First, establish a bedtime routine: it is essential to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and maintain a regular sleeping/waking rhythm. Avoid strenuous activities within two hours of bedtime and create a soothing pre-bed transition by playing relaxing music. Allowing your body to wind down naturally while winding down your thoughts helps to bring back a state of familiarity your body is used to and can help to ease anxiety.
2. Meditation or mindfulness are great tools to assist in calming the mind and body when lying in bed at night and can help to break the cycle of ruminating on thoughts, events, and problems.Mindfulness works by stepping back from the intrusive thoughts that can lead to rumination and helping to foster awareness of body sensations and overwhelming emotions. Even deep breathing for as little as a few minutes can be sufficient as a simple yet effective way to drift off to sleep.
3. Ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to a good night's sleep. The ideal sleeping environment includes ensuring the room is set to a temperature that is comfortable, that noise levels are kept to a minimum, and that there is minimal light exposure. When lying in bed with difficulties sleeping, it is important to note that the bed should mainly be used just for sleeping: avoid having the bed become an office or viewing area for the day, as this can lead to overstimulation and make it difficult to fall back to sleep.
4. Exercise regularly: physical activity during the day helps to reduce stress and can lead to better sleep at night. It is best to avoid strenuous exercise within four hours of bedtime as this can help avoid overstimulation leaving you awake and alert.
5. If one is having specific worries and thoughts leading to difficulties sleeping, it is wise to journal throughout the day. Journaling is the process of writing out your worries and thoughts throughout the day on a daily basis in order to get the thoughts out of your head. Writing these worrisome thoughts down and even noting possible solutions can lessen the burden of them at night leading to a more restful sleep when attempting to drift off.
6. Avoid drinking alcohol within a few hours of bed as it can alter natural sleep cycles within the body. Whilst sedative effects may initially be experienced, the effects of alcohol on the sleep cycle alter dramatically mid-sleep leaving you feeling alert, possibly hours later than when initially falling asleep.
7. Additionally, look into cutting down on caffeine intake earlier in the day as it can elevate alertness, making it harder to fall back to sleep when waking in the middle of the night.
When you're struggling to fall back to sleep, it is important to remember that it can take a few minutes to drift off again and be patient. The strategies mentioned above can help ease the process of getting back to sleep by helping relax the body and break patterns of thoughts and worries. Should the night's restlessness still persist, it is advised to speak with a healthcare professional to ensure there isn't an underlying medical cause.
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