There are many reasons you may wake up mid-slumber, from physical disruptions like your partner stirring next to you, to noise, or even troubled thoughts about the day before. It can often be difficult to nod off after those disruptions, but the good news is there is a way to get back to sleep!
This infographic looks at the problems that cause disrupted sleep, from wriggling to worrying, and, more importantly, how to get back to sleep as quickly as you can.
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How to get back to sleep in the middle of the night
Noisy pets, restless kids, uncomfortable beds. There’s no shortage of nuisances waking us up. And studies show that sleeping badly has become a widespread problem… 56% of women and 49% of men are long-term poor sleepers.
Poor sleepers are:
3 times as likely to be unfocused
2 times as likely to suffer from low mood
Yet, 49% of people have never taken steps to help them sleep
What’s disturbing your sleep?
Here are some simple fixes for common night-time troubles.
Sharing a room with your pet
41% of pet owners are disturbed by pets sharing the bed. 58% are woken by pets sleeping in the bedroom.
- Train your pets to sleep in another room– establish the bedroom as off limits at all times and stick to it
- Feed and let pets out earlier in the day to move their routines forward, and don’t respond when they bark or cry
You or your partner snoring
As many as 1 in 4 people in England snore regularly. Twice as many men snore than women.
- Try to sleep on your side, rather than your back, to alleviate gravitational pressure on the airway
- Snoring can signal underlying conditions, so consult your GP if it’s becoming problematic
Drinking alcohol before bed
Up to 7.9 million Britons have used alcohol to help them sleep, according to research, even though doing so actually reduces sleep quality.
- Avoid alcohol for at least 4 hours before bedtime to avoid suppressing melatonin (the sleep hormone)
- Try not to stay up past your usual bedtime as this only increases alcohol’s sleep-depriving effects
Your kids needing attention
1 in 10 people say their children disturb their sleep. This rises to 26% for parents aged 25-34 – the age they are most likely to have young children.
- Be consistent – if they try to hop in your bed, always escort them back to their room
- Gently phase out any sleep aids, such as pacifiers and stuffed toys, placing them where your child can’t retrieve without help
An uncomfortable bed
After 7 years, a bed in regular use will have deteriorated by up to 75% from its ‘as new’ condition
- Invest in a properly cushioned medium-firm bed and mattress
- Spend time selecting the right mattress – firmness can put stress on pressure points, while an overly soft mattress can harm soft tissue
Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
Over 80% of people with RLS also suffer periodic limb movements (twitchy legs) while asleep.
- Try massaging your legs or doing some light stretching or yoga before bed
- Take a warm bath, or apply a hot compress to your legs to help relax the muscles
Anxiety and worrying
A YouGov poll on mental health in the UK found that 1 in 5 suffer from anxiety most or all of the time.
- Resist the urge to keep checking the clock – this will only heighten the anxiety of being awake
- Distract your mind with a mug of hot milk or watching traffic outside until drowsy again
Tips for getting back to sleep
Sometimes there’s no obvious cause for waking in the night. If you’re a restless sleeper, follow these smart tips to get back on track.
Get up and do something
If you can’t get back to sleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something low key such as reading or listening to music.
Keep the lights low
If you do get up, keep the lights down low. Also, avoid using backlit devices such as TVs, tablets and smartphones in bed.
Use relaxation techniques
Relax your mind and body with some deep-breathing exercises or meditation.
Start a sleep diary
Record your sleep patterns and habits and talk to your GP about them to see if you can devise a strategy for sleeping better.
Remember – regular, good quality sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Use these simple fixes to help you enjoy fewer broken nights.
Have you found any of these techniques for getting back to sleep successful? If so, let us know in the comments!
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