14 Smart Ways to Fall Back Asleep

Do you keep waking up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep? You are not alone. Millions of people suffer from the same fate. You turn and toss, cover your face under the pillow, count sheep…but you can’t sleep. The problem is that when you wake up in the middle of the night, your sleep cycle is broken. You have to fix it to fall back asleep and get your peace. Good news is that you can regain your sleep cycle by following several smart ways to help you fall back asleep and rest till morning.

Ways to Fall Back Asleep

1. Don’t Check the Time

While finding out what time it is may seem like a good idea, studies indicate otherwise. Once you know the time, your brain becomes more alert and starts worrying about the passage of time without sleep. This makes you anxious and you are less likely to go back to sleep.

2. Get Out of Bed

If you’ve been trying to fall back asleep for 15 minutes without success, get up and sit in a chair near your bed. Listen to music or do something else that calms you down. Let your brain associate waking up with sitting down. And when you feel sleep creeping back, climb back into bed.

3. Massage Your Ears

One acupuncturist advises that you should massage the Shen Men (or the Gate of Heaven) acupressure point located in the upper hollow part of your ears towards the face, using your thumb and the index finger. This will calm and stimulate you to fall back to sleep.

4. Switch Off the Light

Although reading a boring tweet from your phone might seem like one of the ways to fall back asleep, experts advise you not to. Light, including that from electronic devices, suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleep and relaxation hormone. You can try a mask to keep off all light sources.

5. Eye Rolling Technique

Some studies indicate that rolling your eyeballs upwards several times, influences the brain to switch from beta alertness to alpha relaxed state. This slows brain waves and induces sleep.

6. Tense and Relax Your Muscles

Once insomnia strikes, your immediate response is to try various sleeping positions. However, the movements are suggestive to the brain that it’s time to wake up. Try instead to be still. Contract and relax muscles throughout your body: eyes, face, neck, back, chest, arms, hands, abdomen, pelvis, thighs, calves, ankles, feet and toes. Repeat this several times.

7. Banish Bathroom Breaks

As age catches up with us, we may get more bathroom breaks at night due to lower levels of the urine production suppressing vasopressin hormone. However, we can decrease the frequency of bathroom breaks by avoiding drinks within one hour before bed. And if you have to visit the bathroom, do so in the dark so you remain sleepy.

8. Keep Your Pets Out of the Bedroom

Your pet has a sleep cycle that differs with yours. They may have many short bursts of sleep with breaks in between. Therefore, it is not a good idea to share your sleeping quarters with your pet. Some studies have established that more than 50 percent of people who share their sleeping space with their pets feel that they have lower sleep quality. To enjoy more restful sleep, keep your pet outside your bedroom. 

9. Create a Sleep Ritual

Another one of the smart ways to fall back asleep is to create a sleep ritual. Pick something as mundane as touching your cheek as you fall asleep and make this a habit. The next time you wake up at night and have difficulty sleeping again, use the sleep ritual to signal to your brain that it is time to get back to sleep.

10. Find Something to Read

Do some reading, but don’t get something that keeps you alert and excited. Read something bland and while doing it, keep the light low or attach a tiny light to the book. This way you will have minimal light exposure and you will drift back to sleep more readily.

11. Do Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises will help slow down your heartbeat, lower your temperature and blood pressure, and thus relax your body and mind. Lying on your back or side, breathe in slowly through your nostrils. Feel the air move through to the depth of your lungs and into the abdomen. Hold the breath for a few seconds then let it out slowly. Keep doing this until you sleep once again.

12. Slightly Lower the Temperature

Your brain has automatic temperature regulation capability. It assigns different body temperatures when you are active and when you sleep. Lowering the temperature of your room to between 65 and 68 Fahrenheit will signal to your brain that it is time to sleep.

13. Replay Your Day’s Events

If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep. Replay the positive events of the day, however small. This way, you will shift your brain from anxiety to gratitude. In this state, you will easily get back to sleep.

14. Take Sleep Medications

Taking sleeping pills is one of the ways to fall back asleep, but some people take the medication all the time. This is not advisable and may form a habit, making it difficult to sleep without medication. Following these smart ways to fall back sleep will normally do the trick. However, if you have to take medication, do it only occasionally and consult your doctor for the proper doses. This is even more important if you are on other medications as well.

 
 
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