14 Insomniacs Share What They Do When They Wake Up in the Middle of the Night and Can’t Get Back to Sleep

It’s a pretty helpless feeling.

You’re lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, unable to back to sleep no matter what you do.

And if you’ve been there, you know that not being able to sleep can also be totally maddening.

Insomniacs on AskReddit talked about what they do when they can’t get to sleep in the middle of the night.

Let’s take a look.

1. Give it a shot.

“I use the alphabet and imagine how to literally construct it out of different materials.

Like, tonight each letter is made of welded steel and I’ll picture the way the light reflects differently off the weld versus the steel, and tomorrow night the letters will be made of Twizzlers and I trace the lines around and imagine where the joints would be.

I’ve used cotton balls, stuffed denim, velvet, twigs, LEGO, etc. It’s the sensory details that short circuit my anxiety and get me back to sleep.”

2. Works for this person.

“I meditate until I fall back asleep.

Plus I remove the extra drape to get myself colder as I read somewhere that being colder makes it easier to fall asleep.”

3. I’ve heard they work wonders.

“Weighted blanket

My SO is a fellow insomniac, he bought it. The weight helps you feel secure and helps you sleep deeper. He said he cannot wake up during the night, even if he has a nightmare which is a bummer but it shows how deeply he sleeps.

He uses a 7 kg one. Try it, it will help.”

4. Good idea.

“I started using Headspace app.

It has a specific night cast thing for when you wake up, to help you fall back to sleep.

Currently I try that, and if that doesn’t work, I just put on a series and pretend to watch it.

Used to clean my room when this happened.

It happens less now that I am medicated so nicely.”

5. Be productive.

“Read a book, do some work or study.

If I’ve got a few extra hours in the day may as well be productive.

Also might put me back to sleep.”

6. Don’t look at the clock!

“Absolutely don’t look at the clock, this isn’t a race! And don’t do the mental math on how much sleep you’ll get now – this is relaxing time, if nothing else.

I’ll also do a short wander around the house on the grounds that I might have heard something in my sleep. If there’s any little quiet chores, I’ll do them (put away dishes, tidy up bathroom counter, sweep floor).

Don’t vacuum (noisy) or do anything stressful or mentally challenging like bills / school/ work. Then maybe a drink of water or bathroom visit and right back into bed. I avoid my phone , tv and the computer.

For really bad patches of insomnia I start a jigsaw puzzle. Get up, do a small section, back to bed.”

7. Avoid your phone.

“Don’t pick up your phone.

I continue laying in bed and I think to myself, “This is fine, this is enough. Whether I fall asleep or not, this is nice. I have nowhere to go, I have nothing to do. I will enjoy laying in bed in the dark with my eyes closed and just enjoy the darkness and the quiet and the relaxation”

It takes the pressure and anxiety away from not falling asleep.”

8. The cycle.

“I do the 4-7-8 breathing method.

If that doesn’t work after about 20 cycles, I get up and read, or do some quiet housework.

Then I go back to bed in an hour.”

9. Works for some.

“I smoke weed.

I always leave a bowl already packed, so when I’m done with my pre-bed smoke session I go to bed, I will then wake up and I just have a bowl ready.”

10. Take away the stress.

“Since my insomnia came from stress, I took the opportunity to take away some of my stress.

Is it 3 a.m. and I’m stressing because the dishes aren’t done, or the house is in chaos or I should be applying for a job somewhere? I’m up anyway so I might as well… I have taken the opportunity to do some yoga, file paperwork, get back to the emails I had been neglecting.

It sucks to feel tired and it sucks not being able to sleep. But at least I’m getting something done and taking some weight off my shoulders.”

11. Word games.

“A good sleep hack I read was to go through each letter of the alphabet and think of three words for each letter.

This has helped my mind to stop wandering when I’m trying to snooze.”

12. Very specific routine.

“Go outside and look at the sky.

Empty the rubbish bins. Quietly.

Snuggle my cats. Get lots of licks and head butts in return.

Snuggle my Hippopotamus stuffie named Earl and try and find a position where my body doesn’t hurt due to my chronic illness.

Worry about everything I have said or done in my forty years on earth.

Try and go back to bed. Snuggle my man, wake him up. Stroke his back until he falls asleep again.

Take my cats back down stairs and snuggle them again. Cry. My body hurts so much and I have to get up for work in three hours.

Put on a comforting, familiar film or TV show like Harry Potter or B99 with the volume down super low. Try and listen only and cover my face with a pillow to reduce the stimulation to my brain so I forget I am worrying about everything I have ever said or done and focus on reciting the dialogue in my head.

Fall asleep hugging my cats and Earl. Wake up one hour before my alarm is meant to go off.

Rinse. Repeat.”

What do you do when you have trouble sleeping?

Sound off in the comments.

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