For the past couple of days we have been talking about that growing group of Americans; the people who are getting too little sleep. Is that you? Do you nod off while reading or watching TV? Do you ever feel like someone sucked the energy right out of you? Do you find it hard to concentrate or be productive? Do you wake up at night and have trouble getting back to sleep? I’m in that group and I am trying to do something about it.
How do you know if you actually fit into that growing group of people who are getting too little sleep? Studies are continually changing recommended sleep times; in fact, another change to recommended sleep times was announced just recently. Recommended sleep times vary with your age. The National Sleep Foundation has released these guidelines: for younger adults, ages 18-25, the sleep range is now 7-9 hours. For adults, ages 26-64, the sleep range remains 7-9 hours. For older adults, ages 65+, the sleep range is 7-8 hours. Remember these are general guidelines and some people will need more sleep. Sound familiar? You need to get better sleep!
One big part of getting better sleep is being able to sleep all night. Most people don’t have a problem falling asleep; they have a problem staying asleep. It is actually pretty normal to wake briefly during the night. Most people do this and don’t even remember it. If you’re waking up during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep, it creates a problem. When that happens try the following tips.
If you are having a hard time getting back to sleep, try a relaxation technique. You can do this without even getting out of bed. Try visualization or taking deep breaths. Even if you aren’t getting back to sleep right away the relaxation will help rest your body. Try not to stress over the fact that you’re awake and not getting back to sleep. That stress encourages your body to stay awake. Try getting back to sleep by staying in a relaxed position and continuing to prepare your body for sleep.
Don’t think too hard
If you wake up during the night and you are feeling worried or anxious about something, try to keep yourself from worrying about it until the next day. Putting off worrying and over thinking things will help aid you in getting back to sleep. Remind yourself when you are rested it will be easier to resolve. If a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper. Go back to sleep and know you’ll be much more productive and handle it after a good night’s rest.
If you’ve been working on getting back to sleep for more than 15 minutes, it might be time to get out of bed. Try a non-stimulating activity, like reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens of any kind. Things like computers, TV, cell phones, iPads will produce enough light to wake you up. Getting back to sleep will be easier if you remain quiet and calm.
Do you have more tips for getting back to sleep if you wake up in the night? Share them with us. We love to hear from you.