Go to bed, fall asleep and wake up, suddenly, in the middle of the night. Don't understand. Who didn't? Watch the clock. Doing laps. Try to sleep.
The problem is that this tendency – common in some people – can lead us to anxiety if we can't see how to get back to sleep. But with a few changes in our sleep hygiene, we can reverse the situation.
Stress and anxiety are sleep's worst enemies. So are ruminative thoughts, those things we think about over and over again without being able to avoid them. Normally, when we wake up at dawn and can't get back to sleep, something is going on in our heads. Worries often keep us awake. For this reason, it's essential to find ways to de-stress, and even to talk to a psychologist to help us manage anxiety.
What we do during the day also affects our sleep. If we exercise, eat well, stop replacing caffeine with healthy foods and cultivate healthy relationships, we'll be halfway there. “How we live from the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed has a lot to do with how we sleep,” Nerina Ramlakhan, psychologist and author of Fast Asleep, Wide Awake, told The Guardian.
When sleep problems occur, the first thing that comes to mind is taking a pill. Foster assures the British media that although sleeping pills help you fall asleep, “they also leave you groggy and make it difficult to wake up”. For this reason, the expert recommends replacing them with melatonin, a much more natural remedy that helps regulate the hormone that helps you fall asleep.
Not the mobile. Unless you're using it to open a mindfulness app or listen to an audio book. Meditation can help us get back to sleep after waking up – and also help us fall asleep. But looking at the clock or the phone will only get us into a vicious circle of worrying about “how many hours I have left to get up”. So try to relax, listen to soft music, relaxing sounds, an audio book or a guided meditation class. You'll probably end up sleeping again.
If none of the above works for you, don't force yourself back to sleep if you're wide awake. All you'll get is more stress. Breathe deeply and focus your attention on your breathing. And if you still haven't fallen asleep, stand up for a moment. Read a little or put on the TV, draw, do Sudoku… whatever. After a while, go back to bed and try to sleep again.
I am a student and I am part of the editorial staff of thesilverink.com. I have the chance to enjoy writing, however, I also like to discuss all subjects and especially anything related to Science.