It’s 3 am and you’re having trouble sleeping.
As your thoughts begin to spiral, you panic about how you’re going to make it through the day ahead. In today's world, there are too many factors that disrupt our sleep cycle. Kids, pets, snoring partners or your natural body clock (to name just a few!). But did you know it’s perfectly normal for our body to wake up between the hours of 2 and 4 am? A full sleep cycle lasts between 60 and 120 minutes and at the end of each cycle, we are in our lightest sleep. If you stir at a similar time each night, this is a good sign that our body's internal clock is synchronised and working properly!
When you do find yourself awake, the key is to stay calm and follow our five easy tips on how to fall back into a peaceful slumber. So sit back, relax and take note!
Don’t watch the clock
Keeping check of how many minutes you’ve been awake will only increase your stress! Before you go to bed set your alarm and put it out of sight. If your alarm hasn’t gone off, you don’t need to know what time it is.
Say no to the phone
We know how tempting it is to take a scroll through Instagram or have a quick check of your emails but this is a huge no-go. Worrying about any unattended emails will only cause an increase in your adrenaline and the blue light from your phone will suppress your sleep hormone melatonin. If you're an Apple user and you really can’t fight the urge, make sure you’ve got your device on Night Shift mode. You can find this in your smartphone settings and set it on an automatic timer from the moment you go to sleep, to the time you wake up.
Don’t force it
If you haven’t fallen back to sleep within around 20 minutes, don’t force it. Get out of bed and do a few mundane tasks around the house like the washing up. If that’s not for you read a book on a low light, do some meditation or deep breathing exercises. The 4-7-8 technique has been known to induce sleep in just 60 seconds. Simply inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, exhale with a whooshing sound for 8 and repeat. It will help you to dispell all those worries and reset your breathing in time for sleep.
If you’re a regular waker-upper, give yourself a signal. Next time you’re falling asleep choose a movement that you find soothing, like stroking your cheek or your earlobe. Repeat this practice every night as you drift off. Over time your brain will create an association between this and sleep. Next time you wake up in the middle of the night, try using this movement to stimulate your brain into sleep.
If you live in a noisy city and can’t sleep through it, white noise is really helpful! Try using a fan during the warmer months or invest in a white noise machine that has nature sounds. You can pick them up relatively cheaply online.
Let us know how you get on or if you have any tips of your own, share them with us on social using #SimbaSleep.