19 Easy Ways to Fall Back Asleep After Waking Up in the Middle of the Night

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By Jonathan Trent

We all know the suffering of waking up in the middle of the night and counting down to our alarm. Disrupted sleep can leave us feeling groggy and unproductive, so we’ve compiled a list of 19 easy ways you can make sure to fall back asleep during the night.

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

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Deep breathing is a surefire way to feel more relaxed, and when you’re relaxed, you’re more likely to drift back to sleep! Medical News Today advises the 4-7-8 breathing method—breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds—which can be great for reducing anxiety and getting you back to sleep.

Use a White Noise Machine

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If you find the deathly silence of the night makes you uncomfortable, white noise machines have been shown to help create a more relaxing environment. Some people sleep better with a little noise, after all, and there are plenty of apps or online videos for white noise if you don’t have a machine.

Avoid Checking the Time if You Can

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We know it’s hard, but if you can avoid checking the time at all costs, it’ll help you fall back to sleep! Checking the clock means that you’re more likely to feel anxious about how much sleep you’re getting, and it’ll make you more stressed than relaxed. 

Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation

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Another easy way to fall back asleep is to use progressive muscle relaxation when you wake up in bed. This involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group, beginning from your toes. You should focus on the sensation through your body, as it makes you feel more at ease. It really works!

Stick to a Pre-Sleep Ritual

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A good preventative measure before bed is a pre-sleep ritual that will make it as unlikely as possible for you to wake up in the night. This can include limiting stimulating screen time right before bed, having a hot cup of cocoa, or taking a warm bath before tucking in for the night.

Keep a Notepad by Your Bed

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If you’re waking up in the middle of the night because of something on your mind, keeping a notepad nearby might be a wise idea. This is because it means you can journal what’s keeping you awake, helping you clear your mind and create a more relaxed mindset for falling back asleep.

Limit Your Fluids Before Bed

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Unsurprisingly, The Sleep Foundation reveals that drinking a lot of liquids right before bed can increase the risk of nocturia—that is, needing to pee in the night! Limit the amount you have to drink the closer it is to bedtime to reduce the likelihood of interrupted sleep!

Try Visualization Techniques

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Another simple way to fall back asleep at night is to try relaxing visualization techniques, such as picturing your happy place, a beach, or a fond memory. Whatever scenario is most calming to you, picture yourself within it and drift off.

Play Soothing Music or Sounds

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Another tip for falling back to sleep at night is to switch on some soothing music or sounds if white noise doesn’t cut it for you. You could even prepare your own music playlist in advance or choose a ready-made one designed for sleep, which will help you. We’d recommend ambient music only!

Adjust Your Sleeping Position

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If you keep waking up at night, it might be that your sleeping position is disturbing your rest. Make sure that your position is supported by pillows, particularly your neck and back, and try a different position if your usual one isn’t working for you. It’s just a matter of trial and error.

Avoid Stimulating Activities Right Before Bed

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Stimulating activities, such as intense conversations, vigorous exercise, or the latest horror film, will all put you on high alert right before bed. This will inevitably make it more likely you’ll wake up, so opt for soothing activities that’ll help you wind down instead.

Gentle Stretches or Yoga

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Light stretches and yoga poses will help you relax your mind and body right before bed, but you can also try them in the middle of the night if you wake up. Harvard Health reports that over 55% of people who do yoga have improved sleep, so give it a try!

Limit Light Exposure

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An essential way to avoid insomnia is to ensure there isn’t any light disturbing you. When you wake, be sure to use low nightlights if you need to switch on a light instead of a harsh overhead light. Definitely don’t look at your bright smartphone or TV, which will only make things worse.

Stay Positive

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Insomnia can be extremely frustrating, but it’s likely you won’t get back to sleep if you’re angrily tossing and turning about it. Instead, try to maintain a positive mindset, telling yourself that it’s not your fault and that it’s normal to struggle to sleep sometimes. You’ll soon drift off again!

Go to the Bathroom As Soon As Possible

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If you’ve woken in the night with a full bladder, it’s understandable why you don’t want to get out of your warm bed. The longer you leave it before you inevitably go, though, it just means more sleep is missed, so get up and go straight away so you can get back to sleep.

Eat a Light Snack

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Some people may also wake in the middle of the night because they’re hungry, which is made worse as you shouldn’t really eat anything close to bedtime. However, eating a healthy, light snack could help balance your appetite and get you back to sleep (though, of course, not last night’s curry!).

Use Aromatherapy

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Many calming essential oil scents can also help you drift back to sleep; for example, studies show that lavender is particularly effective at reducing anxiety and improving sleep, says Healthline. Using essential oil diffusers or even pillow sprays will help you create a calming environment, so it’s worth trying. 

Reflect on Your Sleep Hygiene

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To ensure you can get back to sleep at night, reflect on your overall sleep hygiene when you’re awake. Is your mattress the right firmness for you? Is your bed clean? Is anything in your bedroom causing you stress? Considering this will help, but don’t overthink it, or you’ll be up all night! 

Read a Book

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Our favorite final tip if you’re struggling to fall back asleep in the middle of the night is to switch on a low light and read a chapter of your favorite book. This helps your eyes become more sleepy, which will increase the likelihood of drifting back to sleep. Make sure the book isn’t too heavy-going, though!

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