The One Thing You Shouldn’t Do When You Wake In The Middle Of The Night

I'm guilty of this. Are you?
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I’m not going to disclose my screen time publicly, but what I am going to tell you is that I am deeply, rightly, ashamed of it.

I’m never far away from my phone – in fact, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is grab it and scroll through social media. I do myself and my anxiety disorder no favours here.

And if I wake up in the middle of the night, my phone is the first thing I grab, as well.

But according to sleep expert Dr Jeff Rodgers, when you look at your phone in the middle of the night, you’re “telling your brain to wake up”.

He told Bustle: “The blue light from your phone mimics daylight and suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone which regulates your sleep-wake cycle.”

This blue light effect means that it doesn’t matter if you’re just checking the time and not even opening Instagram or your emails, your brain enters waking up mode meaning that going back to sleep is going to be pretty difficult.

How to get back to sleep in the middle of the night

Most people have about two or three noticeable wake-ups per night, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, so it’s certainly not unusual if you do find yourself awake in the early hours.

If you do wake up, instead of scrolling or checking the time on your phone, aim to get back to sleep as quickly as possible. Although, obviously if you need the toilet or to take some pain relief, go and do that first.

  • Don’t watch the clock.
  • Get rid of any bright lights or loud sounds by closing windows, using earplugs, or listening to white noise.
  • Get out of bed and move if you haven’t been able to get back to sleep within 20 minutes. Do something that calms your mind to make falling back asleep easier when you return. (You might want to read a book in a comfy chair with a lamp on, for instance.)
  • Meditate or try breathing exercises.
  • Relax your muscles.
  • Keep the lights off.
  • Focus on something boring like counting sheep.
  • Listen to relaxing music.

Sweet dreams!