Bonus: Falling back asleep

Now, the final thing I’d like to talk about is what to do if you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t fall back asleep.  So, if you’re having trouble falling back asleep, there are a few things you can do.  First is to see if you can relax as best as you can and give yourself the permission to actually be awake.  We probably all know what that feels like.  The harder you try to fall asleep the more it evades you.

So, in this first strategy it’s about just relaxing and seeing if you can let go of that need to fall asleep instantly.  In these situations, what I like to do is practice a few minutes of mindful breathing just on my own.  So, I might close my eyes and put my hand on my belly and just breathe in and out, feeling my in breath and feeling my out breath.  I like to remind myself that meditation is actually really good for my mental health and well-being.  So, if I can’t fall asleep, at least I can use it as an opportunity to get a few more minutes of meditation in.  

Now, the second tip is that if you can’t fall asleep after 15 or 20 minutes, sleep experts actually recommend getting up and leaving your bedroom and going out and reading a book for a little while until you feel sleepy again.  What you don’t want to do is sit in your bed or lay in your bed for hours staring at the wall because that will trick your brain into associating your bed and your bedroom with feeling restless.  So, instead, if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes or so get up and go out and read a book maybe by candlelight until you feel drowsy and then you can head back to bed again.

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