By Mary Pletsch 19 Aug 2021 no comment 119 Views

In the last few weeks we talked about how important it is to devote enough time to a good night’s sleep.  We also looked at ways to help improve the quality of your sleep.

But what should you do if you go to bed on time and, instead of drifting off, you find yourself tossing and turning?

Or what if you wake up in the middle of the night?

Give yourself about 20 minutes to go to sleep (or go back to sleep)

If you’re still awake after 20 minutes, remaining in bed might do more harm than good.  Feelings of frustration and anxiety have the unfortunate effect of stimulating your mind and making it even harder to go to sleep.

Instead, get up and occupy yourself with a restful activity, like reading or listening to music.

Choose your activity carefully

Avoid screens.  The lights from TVs, cellphones and e-readers can stimulate your brain to wake up.  If you’d like to read, a paper book or magazine is the way to go.

Emphasize relaxation.  If you’d like to listen to music, don’t choose pounding dance music that makes you feel “pumped up.”  Instead, consider making a playlist of songs that make you feel mellow.  Similarly, avoid any stimulating, challenging activities that urge your body and brain to wake up.  If you can’t sleep, the next best thing is to do something restful and relaxing.

Keep the lights dim.  Bright light cues your body that it’s time to wake up.

When do you go back to bed?

When your eyes are drooping, you feel sleepy, or you find yourself dozing off, it’s time to go back to bed.

Avoid clock watching if you’re trying to go to sleep

Lying awake staring at the clock increases your anxiety and frustration.  There is also a temptation to keep opening your eyes to check the time.  Furthermore, sometimes the light from the clock itself is enough to wake you up.

Turn the clock away from you and only check it when you need to.  If you find yourself repeatedly checking if it’s been 20 minutes yet, you’re probably still too stimulated to go to sleep.

Practice good sleep hygiene and it will be easier for you to get to sleep at night.

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