Ways to Get Back to Sleep
It is normal to wake briefly during the night but if you are having trouble falling back asleep, these tips may help:
Stay out of your head
Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, “Ahhh.” Take another breath and repeat.
Make relaxation your goal, not sleep
If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualisation, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though it is not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your body.
Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity
If you have been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that it's time to wake up.
Postpone worrying and brainstorming
If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you'll be much more productive after a good night's rest.
A body scan exercise to help you sleep
By focusing your attention on different parts of your body, you can identify where you’re holding any stress or tension, and release it:
- Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.
- Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any tension while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for at least three to five seconds.
- Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. Then move your focus to your right ankle and repeat.
- Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg.
- From there, move up your torso, through your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, and your shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that feels tense.
After completing the body scan, relax, noting how your body feels. You should feel so relaxed you can fall off to sleep.
**Adapted from HelpGuide