We’ve all been there before. You get into bed after a long day, ready to rest your eyes, only to find out you can’t sleep. You’re wide awake and it’s 2:00 am now. What do you do? Well for starters, we know what you shouldn’t do. All too often when we can’t sleep, we do the wrong thing as we try desperately to find our way back to our dreams. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when dealing with insomnia so you can get more sleep ASAP.
- Picking up your phone and checking social media, surfing the web, etc.
People often reach for their phones almost immediately when they can’t go to sleep. But actually, using smart devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, etc. do the opposite of putting you to sleep. They emit blue light, which stimulates your brain and wakes you up even more. The best solution is to go back to an old-fashioned paper book. Also, keeping your lamp on for only a short period of time and not falling asleep with it on as it could wake you up prematurely again.
- Becoming to anxious about not sleeping.
Just hear us out on this one…the very thing you’re worrying about could be the very thing keeping you up as well. If you’res stressing out over not reaching the recommended eight hours of sleep, you could be actually making it more difficult for yourself to fall back asleep and lead to more severe sleep deprivation.
- Dismissing insomnia as just as minor problem.
Insomnia is a pretty big deal if you find yourself constantly awake and unable to get the right amount of sleep to get you going the next day. However, most people think little of it and just settle for at-home remedies that are very short-term. Did you know trouble sleeping could be a symptom of clinical depression? If you keep waking up and think you may have a medical condition, see your doctor.
- Drinking a hot cup of tea.
We know, it sounds like a soothing quick remedy that’ll put you to sleep. But most teas contain caffeine, and that could do the exact opposite for you when you’re just trying to catch some z’s. While we’re on the subject of hot beverages, beware of drinking a hot toddy or anything else with alcohol. While booze can make you drowsy, but it also can mess up your sleep. You may wind up waking up again or not sleeping as deeply as your body needs.
- Staying in bed.
This sounds like doing the exact opposite to help you fall back asleep, but it will actually help more if you get out of bed and do something else. Nothing too strenuous like cleaning the bathroom or exercising, but something like writing in your journal, listening to calming music, or reading (re: rule 1). All of these are better ways to get yourself back to sleep than lying tense in bed, we promise.
- Ignoring your body’s ability to relax.
Sometimes we underestimate our body’s ability to relax. If we do simple exercises of tensing up certain parts of our body then relaxing, it can help bring on slumber. Another is to do deep breathing exercises of inhaling for four seconds, holding your breather for seven seconds, then exhaling slowly over eight seconds.
Hopefully avoiding these common mistakes will help you out the next time you find yourself wide awake at 2:00 am!