Navigating the Dreaded Middle-Of-The-Night Wake-Ups
Last updated: September 2023
Middle-of-the-night wake-ups are the worst, am I right, or am I right? You know you have been there. You roll over with your eyes wide open and take a look at the clock only to find you had about an hour and a half of sound sleep.
Morning is hours away and you don't feel the least bit sleepy anymore. It looks like you are awake now for the long haul – it's just you, the ceiling and that hateful clock counting down the minutes with all the urgency of a snail trudging through mud.
I don't accept these wake-ups. I wholeheartedly reject them and fight them tooth and nail. Here's how.
I close my eyes. Sounds simple enough doesn't it?
I am well aware of the fact that if I lie awake with my eyes open, I will start to feel more and more like my night is over, and that is the last thing I want. Even if my eyelids don't want to shut, I force them. I am in charge of my body after all.
The urge to scroll
I do not, and I mean do not, pick up my phone. As easy as that would be to do, it is right there beside me on the nightstand, I resist the urge to scroll.
I fought this battle for many years, scrolling the night away, hoping my insomnia would just give in to the mindless activity and let me drift off. It didn't happen, and I would end up more alert than I ever needed to be at 2 in the morning.
Adjust as needed
I readjust. By this I mean I rearrange my pillows, turn over to face the other direction, pull my weighted blanket up a little higher if it has worked its way down to the foot of the bed, and settle into a more comfortable position.
I try hard not to make a big production of this – the more gentle the transition, the better the chance I will drift back off.
Mind over matter
Whatever happens and no matter how I feel, I don't get out of bed. This is a tough one. I know lots of people get up and go to the bathroom, or head to the kitchen in the middle of the night, but I fight with everything in me to stay under those covers.
I clear my mind. It's so easy for the wheels to start turning at that hour, especially when I feel panicky about not falling back to sleep. I have picked up some great tips from Tracy Hannigan's articles. This one is my go-to when I wake up in the middle of the night.
Developing a well-planned strategy
Insomnia is a beast, but I am in this war to win it. Middle of the night wake-ups are one battle for which I have a well-planned strategy. I may not have insomnia licked, but I am taking things one night at a time until the time comes for me to regroup, plan a new attack, and gather new reinforcements.
I can do this, and so can you.
What do you do at night when you can't sleep?