Many people struggle with waking up in the middle of the night.
This can be disconcerting, not only because it results in increased daytime fatigue but also because it can be difficult to fall back asleep. The night hours seem to creep by, and time seemingly slows to a halt.
And of course, there is the dreaded “hour of the wolf”, when the sleepless are terrorized by their insecurities and fears. Usually this is between 3am and 4am.
How to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
In this article, we offer 3 tips for avoiding interrupted sleep by focusing on natural remedies that can increase your likelihood of sleeping through the night.
Follow these tips and if none of them work, speak with your doctor about getting a referral to a sleep specialist.
Avoid Daytime Naps
We all possess a specific 24-hour circadian rhythm – which means sleeping is for the night, and being awake is for the day.
- When it’s dark outside, this signals to our pineal gland to secrete melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness.
- When its light outside, our circadian rhythm promotes higher energy levels.
When we violate these cycles, an imbalance results that must be fixed at some point, otherwise we will continue to exist in a state of disorder.
When we nap during the day, we preemptively engage in behavior that should be reserved for the night. To compensate, our body needs less sleep at night, which often results in sudden awakenings and interruptions.
If you feel yourself getting tired during the day, try bathing in the sunlight if there is any.
Alternatively, perform an honest analysis of the situation. Often times our fatigue is related to the food we just ate, or some repressive mental act. Instead of indulging your fatigue, try going for a brief walk, or doing a set of pushups.
Invest in a High-Quality Pillow and Mattress
We spend a third of our life asleep, so it makes sense to invest money in a quality pillow and mattress.
Don’t be stingy in this category. Think about how much extra the top of the line pillow will cost you per day. It’s probably only a few cents.
In order to induce the restorative effects of slow wave sleep and REM sleep, the body must be comfortable, and this necessitates maintaining a particular form. And yet, our sleeping form is intimately related to the kind of mattress and pillow we use.
Each person has unique needs in this area. Some people like hard mattresses while others prefer a waterbed. Some people even prefer to sleep without a pillow.
The important thing here is to explore your desires and prioritize your sleep environment highly.
If you are often wondering “why do I wake up in the middle of the night”, then perhaps it has something to do with that rock-hard pillow you’ve been using since you were a teenager.
Journal Before You Go to Bed
If you are preoccupied with how to fix your sleep schedule, you should also try journaling before bedtime. Many people who can’t stay asleep find that when they do wake up, they instantly begin to ruminate on the previous day.
This can lead to anxiety and excessive ideation, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it represents a movement towards balance and expression. Clearly, many feelings and thoughts are bottled up inside you.
The solution is not to run from them or vilify them, but instead to express them through art.
The best way to do this is to start writing nightly. Don’t worry if the writing is not publishable. Just focus on streaming your consciousness. Focus on writing whatever comes to mind. You don’t even have to write. You can draw, paint, color, or just doodle.
Some people who struggle with actually getting shapes on the page find that starting with speech and then moving to the page is helpful. Try just making sounds and then attempting to translate them into some language. Or make up your own language.
The key is to focus on expressing whatever drifts through your mind and then set it down on paper, thereby releasing it from your mind.
This will help you feel lighter and calmer when you go to bed and will prevent your dreams from being preoccupied with mundane, anxious concerns. Instead, your dreams will be so amazing and wild that you won’t wake up. And even if you do, you’ll want to go right back to sleep.
Our Final Thoughts on Avoiding Interrupted Sleep
We think interrupted sleep is a common complaint that can be easily addressed. If you are concerned with how to stop waking up in the middle of the night, then we hope these tips will prove effective.
We think that health is contagious, not only interpersonally but on an intrapersonal level. Thus, if you focus on promoting good health in all areas of your life, then consistent, uninterrupted sleep will eventually follow.
Feature image via Medical News Today