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We hear so much about techniques to help us get to sleep — but getting back to sleep? Not so much.
If you’re anything like me, there are nights where you fall asleep peacefully, only to find yourself staring at the roof hours later after you’ve woken up again during the night.
Surprisingly, there are tips and tricks specifically for this situation.
Professor Dorothy Bruck, a Sleep Psychologist at the Sleep Health Foundation, says the first thing to understand is that it’s completely natural to wake up during the night. You only have a problem if you find yourself unable to get back to sleep. If that sounds familiar, here are some pointers to keep in mind for next time:
1. Don’t worry.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, your brain often decides this is an ideal time to begin worrying. And because you’re sleepy, your thoughts can just go around and around and around. Not helpful, huh?
“What you want to do when you’re lying in bed is to make sure that you’re not worrying about thoughts that have a lot of emotional heat. It’s not the time to think about the boss that you disagree with, your relationship with your mother-in-laws or whatever it is,” Professor Bruck says.
She recommends setting some time aside during the day where you can get your worrying or planning out of the way.
“One simple way to do this is get a bit of paper and draw a line down the middle with your worries on one side, and what options there might be to deal with those worries. Then when you’re lying in bed at night and those worries start to come in, you say, ‘Well, actually now’s not the time to think about those worries’,” Professor Bruck says. (Post continues after gallery.)