6 Ways To Fall Back To Sleep When You Wake In The Middle Of The Night

Because insomnia sucks.

Woman in bed with sheets over her holding a cup of coffee up.
Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

Look, ladies, we’ve all been there. Waking up at 2am ain’t fun for anyone—especially after the worry sets in about how tired you’re going to be at work in the morning, which makes it even harder to then fall back to sleep. We know how tempting it can be to grab your phone and start immersing yourself in the deep, dark hole of Instagram—but doing so can make it even harder to eventually fall back to sleep.

So next time—before you default to the humble scroll—here are six ways to fall back into dreamland when you’re awake in the wee hours:

1. Count sheep

Okay, so it doesn’t have to be sheep, it can be cows, cats, chickens or crustaceans—because it’s not what you’re actually counting, but the act of counting itself. The mundane, repetitive nature of the activity makes it a great pick for trying to get back to sleep—as it helps you to relax but also focus your mind on something at the same time. It will help you zone out and get back to zzz-town in no time.

2. Do some yoga

Woman lying on her bed with legs up against the headboard.
Image: blog.preventnow.com

While we definitely don’t mean that you should roll out your mat, throw on your activewear and start sun salutations at 2am, doing some specific yoga poses can definitely help you back on your way to snooze-land.

If you really can’t sleep, doing some light cat and cow in another room can really help to soothe your fraught parasympathetic nervous system into a state of luxurious relaxation. Or, try putting your legs up against a wall—this pose promotes circulation and relaxation and will have you feeling ready for a snooze in no time.

3. Relax your entire body

And we mean your entire body. Basically, pretend you’re in savasana, but in bed. Have you ever had a yoga teacher take you through each body part that you need to relax as you head into the end-of-class savasana? From the tips of your toes to the top of your head, slowly make your way up your body and consciously relax each body part as you go. By the time you reach your head (which contains that pesky brain of yours which won’t shut off), you’ll hopefully be feeling super drowsy and ready to fall back to sleep.

4. Sip something warm

Tea filled white ceramic mug on white ceramic saucer.
Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

‘Cause is there anything more comforting in the entire world than some warm tea or milk when you’re feeling tired and stressed out about the fact that you’re tired? Nuh-uh. Whip up a calming elixir and feel your senses become instantly soothed.

5. Deep breaths

Good, old-fashioned deep breathing works a charm for falling back to sleep, as long as you’re keeping your mind focused on the soothing rhythm of your inhales and exhales. Meditative breathing will help your body to relax and unwind, and your mind should quickly follow. Oh, and ICYMI, this sequence claims to get you back to sleep in under one minute

6. Get out of bed

Woman lying back on a couch falling asleep.
Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

It’s a bit of a last resort, but one that can be tried to see if it works for you.

Cleveland Clinic says that if you can’t fall back to sleep within 20 minutes, to get up and out of bed. They say “use your ‘mind clock’ to estimate how long you’ve been awake. After 20 minutes of wakefulness, get up and leave your bedroom. “Don’t spend time in bed trying to fall asleep, you will start worrying about falling asleep and then learn to associate the bedroom with not sleeping well”—which let’s face it, is literally the last thing you need, amiright? 

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