Now what?

You get into bed and before you know it, you fall sound asleep.  And then 3 hours later you are wide awake.

Perhaps you find yourself muttering why? Or saying to yourself…..NO don’t wake up!
But then you do.

There you are wide awake and really, really annoyed.  Can you relate?

I have read many opinions from experts to bloggers that one should get out of bed if you lie awake for more than 20 minutes.  Apparently that seems to signal to the brain that associates your bed as a place where you don’t sleep.

However, I disagree with this because of my experience.  When I wake up, I begin to feel annoyed and that aggravation makes it worse.  So now I use it as an opportunity to think about something pleasant, that makes me happy.  I kind of visualize a fantasy life and play it out in my mind as to exactly would it would look like.  And if that is not working for me, I move to one of my many relaxation techniques I have learned.  For example, meditation, self hypnosis, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation.  There are so many great techniques to try.  And I want to be in bed to do these techniques so I can easily fall back to sleep.

I stay in bed and use the wakefulness as an opportunity to reframe my experience from annoyance to more joyful or pleasant feelings.  Yes, it is a practice.

And if all else fails, I then get out of bed.  I have learned to accept this and thankfully it is now a rare occurrence.  There was a time when this happened nearly every night. I would get out of bed and be irritated and so darn mad that I could not get a peaceful night’s sleep.  And I could be up for several hours.

What do I do now when I get up?  I usually make myself a relaxing tea and then I do what they tell you not to do.  I watch TV.  I make a conscious choice to only watch something light or funny.  No crime dramas, no heartbreak stories, no news, no scarry stories.  It usually lasts about an hour and then I start to get sleepy and I am now ready to go back to bed.  This works for me.  And then sometimes I won’t watch TV, I will listen to gentle music or read a nutritional book and it takes about the same amount of time to start being sleepy again.

I do not put pressure on myself.  I don’t get upset or angry about not being able to sleep.  The trick is to not panic about it.  Make no fuss in your mind.  Start with acceptance and then patience for when you will get sleepy again.

I hope that works for you.