It happens to all of us at times, we are woken from a deep sleep, in the middle of the night for apparently no good reason. Immediately we look at the clock and think ‘I have to get back to sleep, I have a busy day tomorrow,’ or ‘I need sleep I have to be up in a few hours’. The more determined we are to fall asleep the more awake we feel. A poor night’s sleep affects our performance and our mood. Sleep, or lack of it, interferes with our hormones, which in turn negatively affect our fat loss efforts. Sleep is a crucial part of healthy life style. I have taught myself how to get back to sleep in the middle of the night and put the solution into 5 Simple Steps for you to follow.
Step One: Don’t Try To Sleep-Relax
Some things just cannot be forced and sleep is one of them. As soon as we try to sleep we become anxious about not sleeping. In the first few minutes we are not as awake as we may think. As soon as we begin to toss and turn we wake ourselves up. It is like shaking a bottle of soda. Instead try to lie still in a comfortable position. Focus on relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with toes and working your way to your head. Concentrate on deep breathing, count the length of your inhale and try to extend the inhale to four seconds. Then exhale for the same length of time. Tell yourself that now you are relaxed sleep will come.
Step Two: Don’t Watch The Clock
When you set the alarm clock at night, turn the clock face away from you. Frequently checking the clock only adds to stress and anxiousness.
Step Three: Don’t Switch On The Lights
Light instantly affects alertness centres in our brain, making us feel wide awake very quickly. If you need to take a drink or use the toilet keep the lighting low. Get into the habit of wearing an eye mask so that if you wake too early on a summer’s morning, and it is already light, you will not be alerted by the brightness. As far as our brain is concerned darkness equals sleepiness; light equals wakefulness.
Step Four: Adjust The Temperature
Body temperature is vital for healthy sleep. A common cause for night time waking is a shift in temperature, either becoming too hot or too cold. Want to know how to get back to sleep? We need to ensure we are comfortably warm. This may mean adjusting our sleep attire, adding or removing a blanket. As we fall asleep our core body temperature needs to drop a little in relation to the temperature of our extremities, this is why cold feet stop people from falling asleep. While ‘bed socks’ are not very alluring, they may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Step Five: Don’t Worry-Use Your Imagination
Sleep is a by-product of relaxation but sleep doesn’t always lead to relaxation if the quality of sleep is not good. It is often better to be awake and relaxed then to be in the midst of a restless sleep. The problem can be switching our mind off and learning to relax while lying awake, rather than worrying about tomorrow. When we worry we are looking for solutions, sometimes finding them, more times feeling helpless, especially in the early hours when we cannot take action. Looking for a solution is stimulating; therefore worrying will keep us awake. Get imaginative and start to create solutions, the more outlandish the better, this is fantasy. It can be winning the lottery, a business idea that works, receiving relationship advice from Dr Phil…….if you can imagine having a problem solved your mind gets the message that it can shut down again and start to relax. If all else fails read a book using soft lighting, just be sure that it is not an exciting book.
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