Falling asleep can be very tricky. Some days, you sleep at the drop of a hat; other days, you need the sandman’s intervention. It only gets more annoying when you wake up in the middle of the night and realise that you can’t seem to fall asleep again. In this case, milk or music may not do the trick because your body has familiarised itself to these. This is why you need to adopt different ways to fall asleep when sleep eludes you. So, when one fails, you apply a different tactic.
When you lack good shut-eye, you become drowsy and tired throughout the day. Your productivity level also drops. The lack of adequate sleep the night before can also make you worry about a repeated episode.
This plagues your mind to a point where you become near-drained and can’t function properly. It happens because your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle becomes disturbed. The fact that it takes your body a while to get back into REM sleep is what makes you groggy the next day.
Funny thing is, your habit of waking up during the course of sleeping is quite normal, albeit irritating. Most people experience mini-awakenings without even noticing them. It happens up to 20 times per hour, while observable wake-ups happen about two or three times per night.
Therefore, the problem here is how to fall back asleep, and we’ve got you covered. With our basic tips, you’d be able to solve that problem easily.
What to do when sleep eludes you
1. Ignore the time
It can get very tempting to check the time and calculate how much sleep you have left. Try not to do this – in fact, DON’T. Stop every temptation that makes you look up at the clock or reach out for your phone. Making such calculations only make your brain more alert. When this happens, it’s goodbye to sleepy town.
2. Avoid your phone
When you lose sleep, you believe checking up on your social media would help bore you to sleep. This won’t work. Firstly, the light from your screen can make you feel more alert. You can also get distracted by your phone and the apps and can’t seem to break up with the habit. Before you say ‘Sandman’, your alarm would ring and you’d wonder what happened to the time.
3. Transform your room into a dark sanctuary
Rache; Ross, a certified sleep consultant, explains:
“Even if you’re a shift worker, keep it quiet and comfortable. You have to work with what you have. If you live in a noisy city, and can’t sleep through it, white noise is helpful. A fan works just fine, or you can try a white noise machine that includes nature sounds. You can also try earplugs and an eye mask if there is too much ambient light in the middle of the night.”
4. Soothe yourself with music
Sometimes a good lullaby is all you need. Play a song that’s calm and not too loud and upbeat. Your mind just needs to relax. It’s advisable to play a classical song that has no lyrics. If you do otherwise, you might end up singing the song until the cock crows.
Do some relaxing stretches that would help your muscles yearn for sleep. Don’t work out as this would only keep your brain active. Calm and slow stretches in bed will help you seek your snooze back.
6. Bore yourself to sleep
This is where you need to count sheep. This works most times unless you find counting sheep fun. You can also recite a poem. Think of the most boring thing ever and just do it. Thinking might knock the alertness out of you anyway.
Generally, you need to avoid engaging in things that make you alert at night. Stopping such habits helps you sleep longer, with less wakefulness at night.