We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our health, but no matter how hard some people try getting in the requisite hours just isn’t going to happen. For a lot of people, even if they do go to sleep on time, waking up in the middle of the night is a big problem, but apparently there’s one thing you can do that may help you solve the issue.
If you’re one of the 10% of the population with chronic insomnia, lying in bed trying to will yourself back to dreamland isn’t going to work. Instead, Dr. Shelley Hershner, an assistant professor of neurology at Michigan Medicine’s Sleep Disorders Center, recommends actually getting out of bed to help you eventually fall back to sleep. Hershner suggests that if you don’t fall back to sleep after 20 minutes, try something called “sleep stimulus,” where you get up and go to another room in your house that's dark and quiet, and maybe turn on some white noise or try to meditate and relax. Once you feel yourself getting sleepy again, return to your bed.
The doc says that if you remain in bed, you may experience “sleep pressure,” causing you to get frustrated about not being able to fall back to sleep, which then leads to the production of stress hormones, as well as increased heart rate and general anxiety, which will likely make it harder to fall back asleep. If you change your environment, it may fight off the sleep pressure and help you fall asleep again.