Five scientific tips for getting back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 30 to 35 percent of adults suffer from insomnia, and about 10 percent suffer from chronic pain for at least a week. Some cases of severe insomnia may necessitate a visit to the doctor, but minor recurrences can be alleviated with five scientifically established strategies.

1. Keeping your phone out of reach of your bed. The light is one of the most difficult hurdles to resuming sleep at night. When the blue light from a smartphone shines into your eyes, it induces insomnia. W. Christopher Winter, director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center, explained that ‘electronics emit light that can wake us awake.’ It can be difficult to resist the need to check social media or news websites, but if you do not control your emotions, you may lose the night. Tablets and e-readers should be turned off and kept away from you if you wake up in the middle of the night.

2. Hours should be ignored, as should news feeds and social media. In fact, our stress levels rise to the point where we spend less time trying to sleep. For example, if you have to leave for work at 6 a.m., you may be concerned about being late. Insomnia can be caused by stress and anxiety.

‘Problems occur when people’s thoughts begin to become apprehensive,’ explains neurologist Brian Murray. ‘Looking at the clock causes people to fear that they won’t be able to sleep,’ he explained. ‘It causes the body to produce hormones and interrupts the sleep process.’

3. Do not be frightened to get out of bed in the morning. If you haven’t slept in 20 minutes, get up and do some light activity. When they are not sleeping, most people roll over in bed. Insomniacs should get out of bed and undertake some mild activities, such as light reading, according to James Findley, medical director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine department.

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