How To Sleep Through the Night Without Waking
If you wake up multiple times during the night, you’re missing out on quality, uninterrupted sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning. Here are some tips for staying asleep until your alarm goes off the next day.
When You Wake Up, Get Out of Bed
When you do wake up in the night, one of the worst things you can do is stay in bed, watching the clock or playing on your phone until you get tired again. “Our brains learn by association, and to sleep well, you want your brain to have a strong learned association between the bed and sleep,” said Wendy Troxel, sleep expert and Ph.D.
So if you do wake up during the night and can’t fall right back to sleep, get out of bed. Do something without turning too many lights on, and pick an activity that will be relaxing enough that you may fall back to sleep. “Go do something like reading a book or magazine,” Troxel said.
When you get sleepy again, head into bed.
Stay Away from Electronics
Are you and your phone inseparable? That might be part of the problem. If you’re scrolling through the day’s happenings on your favorite social media sites, you’re going to be too stimulated to sleep. You need to put down the electronics at least an hour before bedtime. And better yet, keep them out of your bedroom entirely.
“Technology such as iPhones, tablets, and televisions not only provide very stimulating content which can keep you awake at night, but they also can directly interfere with a good night of sleep by emitting light, which can interfere with sleep,” Troxel said.
If you use your phone as your alarm clock, go old-school instead and use an actual alarm clock which won’t illuminate your bedroom as much or make annoying noises every time a notification pops up.
Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Waking up at the same time every day will help you stop waking up in the middle of the night. “The time you wake up is the single most important factor that sets your brain’s internal biological clock, so the brain knows when to be alert and awake (during the day) and when it should be asleep (at night),” Troxel said.
What’s important is that you set a consistent wake-up time – it doesn’t matter whether it’s 6 a.m. or 8 a.m. Just make sure you set it and stick to it so your internal biological clock is steady.
Keep Stress Away
If you’re feeling stressed, sometimes that spills over into your sleeping hours. So cutting down on your stress levels will prevent you from waking up too much during the night. “It is particularly difficult to unwind and ‘unplug’ from our day-to-day lives because we live in an increasingly 24-7 world, so thoughts, worries, and to-do lists can creep into the night and disrupt our sleep,” Troxel said.
She recommends finding a way to cope with your daily stresses so they won’t mess up your sleep schedule. “There are lots of strategies that are effective and healthy for managing stress and worry, such as yoga, meditation, or physical activity in general. Just choose what works for you and do it on a regular basis, so it becomes a part of your daily routine,” Troxel said.
Stay Away From Alcohol
A quick nightcap may sound like a great way to knock yourself into a deep, long-lasting sleep, but it can have the opposite effect. “Having a nightcap might help you to fall asleep, but as your body metabolizes the alcohol, it can disrupt sleep,” Troxel said.
That means you’ll be better off skipping the wine.
Cut Back on Liquids Before Bed
In the hour or two before bed, you should cut way back on the liquids you’re drinking. While it’s fine to have a few sips of water before you head off to bed, you don’t want to be drinking cups of it. That will lead to a lot of disrupted sleep as you wake up to have repeated bathroom trips.