Get back to sleep
It’s the middle of the night and suddenly, you’re wide awake, unable to go back to sleep. Try these tricks from people who managed to conquer their middle-of-the-night sleeplessness.
Put the phone away
When you wake up in the middle of the night, resist the urge to check email or hop on Facebook, as the blue light emitted by electronics interferes with your sleep, according to Harvard research. If you find it impossible to do without screen time, either before bed or at 3am, try this trick from Nadine Hemens, an assistant principal. “Middle of the night insomnia is a big one for me, and I used to make it way worse by checking email. Now, I simply tell myself that whatever it is, it can wait, and I listen to a meditation app on my phone, instead. I usually fall back asleep without even realising it,” she says. If your computer, iPad, or phone is a bedtime staple you can’t do without, make sure to at least dim the screen down at night. This may help you stay asleep until morning.
Transform your bedroom into a quiet, dark sanctuary
“Middle of the night insomnia is often caused by emotional distress, anxiety, or a busy mind. Throughout the night, we go into sleep cycles. As we go into each cycle, we wake up a little, but typically don’t remember, and fall back asleep. If you are stressed out, those wake-ups can become a full awakening, and your mind gets very busy,” explains Rachel Ross, a certified sleep consultant. If you’re frequently waking up in the middle of the night, Ross recommends making your bedroom soothing and dark. “Even if you’re a shift worker, keep it quiet and comfortable. You have to work with what you have. If you live in a noisy city, and can’t sleep through it, white noise is helpful. A fan works just fine, or you can try a white noise machine that includes nature sounds. You can also try earplugs, and an eye mask, if there is too much ambient light in the middle of the night,” she adds.