Dear Roddy, Thank you for the sleep blogs this week. I agree that this is an important part of my health. I love my sleep and need it to feel good. My problem is I wake in the early hours and it takes a while to get back to sleep. Can you help me? Subscriber NT
Thank you for your question. This is a common problem. I know the feeling. It used to drive me crazy. You toss and turn, knowing you need sleep. You then add frustration to your tiredness, and this is a bad place to be. Here are a few tips to help you.
- Don’t get mad with yourself. Lie quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe and relax. You’re resting, and that’s a good thing. Even if you lie awake a little while, your body is resting. Don’t be angry. Relax, knowing you’re doing a good thing. It’s amazing how quickly you can fall asleep if you’re not mad at yourself!
- Don’t put on all the lights. You send a signal to your brain that it’s daytime and disrupt your circadian rhythm further.
- Get up if you need a drink or the bathroom, but don’t get too active. Movement alerts sensors in your joints that it is time for wakefulness. This sends signals to your brain, and again, you disrupt your circadian rhythm. Lie quietly.
- Don’t snack. Most of the things you grab from the fridge will result in a sugar surge. It’s likely to keep your brain awake for a little before your insulin kicks in to reduce the level of blood sugar again.
- If you really need to do something, then read a book. Don’t use bright light. Dim light is better. Do you remember trying to stay awake while you had to study? It can be difficult. It has a soothing effect on the brain and ideally your eyelids will start drooping.
I hope this helps. I found that tip #1 revolutionized my night wakefulness.
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