One of the most annoying things to happen to our sleep at night is waking up and then not being able to go back to sleep! It is not uncommon for this sort of thing to happen. And then a few hours of tossing and turning in bed, and it’s morning already. Reluctantly, we trudge on to work, and feel absolutely beat up. Does this sound familiar to you?
Some of us are just plain light sleepers. A noise, an out-of-control bladder, hunger pangs, or some pain in our body can throw off a good night’s sleep quite easily. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as an inconsiderate spouse! “Not tonight dear, I’m trying to sleep,” should be the new tagline, it seems.
If you wake during sleep, looking on the bright side, it means if your house is on fire, or someone is trying to break into your house, you won’t be sleeping like a log through it! So, that is the upside of being a light sleeper. Waking during sleep is not a problem, unless you constantly wake up during the night, and find it really difficult to fall asleep again.
If you find yourself having trouble getting back to sleep, here are some tips that should be helpful.
Get out of bed – quit tossing and turning
Often, we try too hard to sleep when the best thing to do is to get out of bed. Your body gets a chance to cool down a little, because lying in bed and tossing about actually increases your body temperature. This temperature drop can trigger the body’s response to fall asleep, as one of the signs of approaching sleep is a drop in body temperature.
Another reason is due to fatigue, or rather, lack of it. You might not feel tired, if you’ve already slept for a few hours prior to waking up. So, if after half an hour of tossing about in bed and you can’t sleep, get up and do something like looking at a photo album of landscape scenery. You are trying to bore yourself to sleep, and to lower your body temperature. Don’t stimulate your brain at all. Dull but pleasant activities are best.
Don’t turn on a bright light because your pineal gland (your body’s internal clock) might mistake the light for daytime. With regards to light, watching TV or looking at a computer monitor could mess up your internal clock and stimulate your brain too much. These appliances emit electromagnetic waves which are not conducive for sleeping.
Get yourself a snack
Hunger is one of the reasons why you can’t fall back to sleep. Some foods are good for helping you to feel drowsy. Milk and a turkey ham sandwich are some of the best snacks to help you fall asleep, because they help your body to release serotonin, a natural relaxant. Cereals, oats, fruits, and nuts are other good sources of serotonin.
Visualize yourself to sleep
Visualization is a great way to bore your mind, calm it down, and shut it down. The idea of counting sheep begins with visualization. But instead of sheep, try substituting them for a visualization on beautiful landscape scenery, like a tropical island. If the brain focuses on imagery, it will start drifting into the alpha state, and before you know it, you are on the verge of sleep.
Sleep at a later time
If all else fails, it might be that your body is just not needing to go to sleep at that time. So, use that time to stay up a little longer and do something relaxing. Meditation is a useful activity to get into the sleeping “mood.” As long as you unwind, your body will take its cue and get into the mode of sleeping.
Get the temperature right
Subtle temperature drops at a later time of the night may also make it easier to fall asleep. Most of the time, people don’t realize that temperature plays an important role in sleeping. So, if it’s too hot, turn on the fan or air conditioning. If it’s too cold, get under a blanket. Get the temperature right, and you’re almost there in sleepland.