16 December 2008

Stop Twisting and Turning and Get Back to Sleep

Even the soundest sleepers occassionally awaken during the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. Dianne Hales, spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council, suggests these ways to slip back into slumber.

1. Stay put if possible. If you get up and move around you'll be much more awake than you are when just lying in bed. (However, if a noise has awakened you, try to remedy the situation: Complain about the disturbance, put in earplugs - you can make them out of cotton - or run the air conditioner or "fan".)

2. Test yourself, "I'll be back to sleep in a minute." Try not to agonize over the sleep you're going to lose, the presentation you're going jeopardize, etc.

3. If worries persist, try this "cognitive refocusing" execercise developed by Stanford University sleep researchers: Picture a sleep burning brightly. Every distracting thought is like a breeze that makes the flame flicker.

4. If you sense that you're tensing up and are irrevocably awake, read or otherwise occupy yourself until you're drowsy again.

The good news : Once you realize that you can put yourself back to sleep, the problem is much less likely to occur.




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