Q: What should I do if I wake up tossing and turning in the middle of the night?

A: Get out of bed.  If you are not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes, get out of bed.  Go into a different room and do a relaxing activity (listen to relaxing music, knit, draw, or read). Don’t do anything that could stimulate your senses (exercise or screen time).

Once sleepy, go back in bed.  Sleep should occur in your bed and not in a chair or couch, but don’t go back to bed too soon.  It is better to wait until you’re sleepy and get a few hours of restorative sleep versus going to bed early and getting additional bad sleep.

Do a mind dump.  If you’re anxious and your mind is racing, clear your mind by listing those worries and concerns on a piece of paper.  Then leave the list and do something relaxing.

Don’t have a late night snack.  Avoid eating as eating is your stomach’s alarm clock and may prolong the tossing and turning.

Adopt good sleep behaviors:

  • Keep regular sleep hours each day
  • Keep your bedroom cool
  • Go to bed when your sleepy
  • Minimize napping or sleeping in on the weekend
  • Avoid lights an hour before bed
  • Avoid stimulus a couple hours before bed (exercise, eating, and drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages)

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