We’ve all been there. You toss. Turn. You can’t seem to turn off your brain. You worry about how much time you have left to get that much-needed rest. You stress about how the next day will go if you’re running on too few Zs. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to help promote a great night’s rest. There are several trusted tricks and tips to fall back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Here are a few things to try next time sleep attempts to evade you.
1– Eliminate bright lights and sounds.
If you wake in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, try to turn off any lights in or around your bedroom that could be adding to your sleep disruption. Ambient light, light streaming in from windows, and LED light from screens can make it more difficult to fall back asleep. If sounds are a problem too, try earplugs, a fan, or other white noise machines to help drown out the sounds that are keeping you awake.
2– Get out of bed and move around.
Sometimes you just get stuck in a swirling headspace and can’t go back to sleep. If this happens to you, we recommend getting out of bed and going into another room for a while. You can try reading for a few minutes (with just enough light on to see the pages easily), or listen to music to wind back down. Music encourages our bodies to relax and can actually lull you back to sleep. Calming music is best, especially instrumental music like classical or jazz.
You can also try meditating in another room to calm your senses. Taking deep breaths and clearing your mind can improve sleep. If you get up, make sure you don’t do anything stressful or laborious. Just give your body a chance to relax again before returning to your bed. If you wake up, it’s a good idea to get out of bed for a bit so your brain doesn’t begin to associate the bed with wakefulness.
3– Avoid your phone and other screens.
The blue light that smartphones and other electronic devices emit can actually suppress your body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone your body produces that helps regulate circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. It’s best to try to avoid your cell phone and other screens when you wake in the night. You can also switch them to night mode to reduce your exposure to blue light should you need to check them. That said, looking at devices can also stimulate the brain again, keeping you in a state of unrest.
4– Avoid repeatedly checking the clock.
When you are already having a hard time falling back asleep, having staring contests with the clock is a bad idea. You’ll lose this content every time. Checking the time over and over again can make you feel anxious, which is counterproductive when you’re trying to drift back into restful sleep.
5– Intentionally relax your muscles.
One thing that can help you fall asleep more easily is performing a full-body scan of sorts. This trick is called progressive muscle relaxation. First, you close your eyes and focus on slow breathing. Think about your face, relaxing each muscle intentionally. Move down to the neck and shoulders and relax them, too. Continue systematically relaxing all the muscles in your body all the way down to your feet. The idea here is that you can lull yourself into such a relaxed state that you’ll eventually be able to fall back asleep.
6– Try sleep apps.
A lot of people find that using various sleep applications helps them fall asleep more quickly or fall back asleep after being awakened. These apps are designed to help you feel relaxed through stories, sounds, music, and other techniques. Many of them offer free trials to allow you to test their effectiveness before you commit. Here is a list by Good Housekeeping of the best sleep apps to download in 2023.
If you try out some of these tips, we hope they help you get better rest and deeper sleep. Of course, there are some sleep disorders that require medical expertise. In these cases, experts recommend seeing sleep specialists to find the underlying issues and get you on track to a better night’s rest.
In addition to finding what works best for you to help you get back to sleep after waking in the night, it’s also important to set yourself up for sleep success in every other way you can. One way to do this is by curating a peaceful sleep space with the perfect bed for you, your body, and your sleep needs. Check out our line of Flexabed adjustable beds, and start paving the way toward peaceful sleep today.