It happens to everybody once in a while. You fall asleep without trouble. But you are awakened in the middle of the night. You feel as if you just drank caffeine. It’s the dead of night, but your body and mind feel like it’s daytime. Maybe you toss and turn for a couple of hours, hoping to fall back asleep, but feel even more awake. By now, you’re stressed because you can’t relax or sleep. What should you do?
You’re not alone
If it’s any comfort, you’re not alone regarding sleep problems. Lots of people have trouble sleeping. It’s thought that at least 50 to 70 million Americans have sleep disorders. Plus, one in three adults in the United States does not get the recommended seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. So, if you’re regularly waking up at night, here are some suggestions to help you fall back to sleep quickly.
15 Ways to Fall Back Asleep if Awakened During the Night
How to relax your brain and fall asleep faster.
1 – Read a book
Apologies to these classic authors, but these books are considered sleepers… literally and by many readers. Certain books don’t hold your interest, so they make your eyes heavy. So, if you wake up in the middle of the night, pull out one of these authors’ books. Hopefully, one of these books will become your favorite way to trick your brain into falling asleep again.
- William Shakespeare
- John Steinbeck
- Herman Melville
- James Joyce
- Ernest Hemingway
- Thomas Hardy
- William Faulkner
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Joseph Conrad
2 – Tell yourself not to fall asleep
A study found that people with insomnia fall asleep faster if they tell themselves not to fall asleep. It’s called the Paradoxical Intention. As you lie in your bed with your eyes wide open, all the worries about falling asleep fade away. This habit helps you relax, and before you know it, you will wake up refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
3 – Storytime
Listening to a story helps you get sleepy. You can download an app that is specifically for people who want to fall asleep, or you can listen to an audiobook. It’s worth trying. Maybe a story will put you to sleep just like it did when you were a little kid.
4 – Eat some cheese
It’s thought that cheese is a sleep remedy. Cheese contains tryptophan, which your body needs to make serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin controls your sleep while melatonin regulates your regular sleep cycle. So, if you wake up in the middle of the night, try eating a little bit of cheese. Avoid high-fat cheese. It’ll keep you awake. Instead, choose one of these low-fat options:
- Cottage cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Mexican cheese blend
5 – Get out of bed
If you find you’re waking up in the middle of the night, researchers say that getting up is the best thing. Instead of staring at the ceiling for hours, get up and read a book. Avoid using your devices because the blue screens will keep you awake. After you’ve been for a bit of time, you will relax and feel sleepy. Go back to bed.
6 – Take a small amount of melatonin
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps you sleep. It’s essential that when you take it, you accept the right amount, or it can have the opposite effect and keep you awake. The rule of thumb is to take approximately three mg to fall back to sleep.
7 – Go to bed later
A simple remedy for waking at night could be to try going to bed later. It sounds strange, but if you keep waking up in the middle of the night, it could mean your body isn’t ready for sleep. It would be best if you got in sync with your body clock. Try moving your bedtime back an hour to see if that helps you sleep all night.
8 – Ignore the clock when you must fall asleep
There is nothing worse than waking up and looking at your clock. You may calculate how long it is until you need to get up or how few hours you’ve slept. Constantly checking the clock can be stressful. Try to let go of the time. This will relax you, so you’re more apt to fall asleep.
9 – Gratitude practice
Instead of counting sheep, count your blessings. Start listing all the things you feel grateful for. It can be as simple or complex as you want. Gratitude has a beautiful way of helping you feel positive and happy. Here are some things you could list as you count your blessings:
- Church Community
- Lakes, oceans, and rivers
- Clothes you wear
- The home you live in
- Food you eat
- Clean water
- Money to buy things
- Car you drive
- Bike you ride
Making this list could go on for hours, but hopefully, you’ll relax and feel tired as you marvel at all you have to be thankful for in your life.
10 – Take a walk
It’s a little unorthodox, but many people say that taking a walk if they wake up in the middle of the night helps them. Walking helps release your pent-up anxiety. As you walk, you will relax and feel sleepy. Of course, if where you live isn’t an excellent place to go walking around in the middle of the night, you may not do this. You may be able to walk around your backyard to get the same benefit.
11 – Try breathing relaxation exercises to fall back asleep
Get up and go into another room. Do some calming breathing exercises to release your tension or stress. Breathing can help your mind clear and your body relax. After these exercises, you can go back to bed if you feel tired. If not, keep doing the breathing relaxation techniques until you begin to feel sleepy.
12 – Be sure to follow your regular schedule the next day
If you wake up at night and never totally fall back to sleep, you’re guaranteed to feel tired the next day. Avoid taking a nap or drinking too much coffee to get through the day. Instead, follow your routine. This will ensure that you will sleep well that night. Keeping a routine despite waking up helps your body clock reset, so you’re apt to sleep better.
13 – Be sure to go to the bathroom
Sometimes what’s keeping you awake is that you need to empty your bladder. Before you go to bed, be sure to take care of business first. You may be surprised that this was all your body needed to get a good night’s rest.
14 – Listen to calming music
Listening to music is a beautiful way to relax and fall back to sleep. Create a playlist of calming classical tunes that you like to listen to. Avoid music with lyrics. They may wake up your brain. Let the music carry you away as you listen. Do a couple of deep breathing techniques and allow yourself to drift along with the notes.
15 – Pet your dog
Your dog might not appreciate the interruption, but petting your dog for a few minutes can help you relax. You’ll feel happier stroking your canine’s fur or giving them a little cuddle because your brain releases chemicals that improve your mood. You don’t need to stay at it long because your pet may wake up and want to play. So, try petting your puppy for ten minutes, then head back to bed.
Why Can’t You Stay Asleep?
You probably ask yourself this question. Why do you keep waking up during the night?
If you try all these things and nothing seems to help, discussing it with your naturopath may be good. They can do tests to see if there is a medical reason you keep waking up. Certain medical conditions can interrupt your sleep cycle, including the following:
- Acid reflux
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Chronic pain
Final Thoughts on Understanding Why You Can’t Stay Asleep and How to Relax Your Mind
Waking up at night is a common problem for many adults. Waking up during the night can be stressful. Tossing and turning do no good in getting back to sleep. You might eat cheese, do breathing exercises, pet your dog, or go for a walk. Sometimes the simplest things work the best, so don’t underestimate the fact that you may need to go to the bathroom. Hopefully, one of these suggestions will do the trick to help you relax and fall back to sleep quickly, so you’re feeling ready for the following day.