One of the biggest mistakes people make when they wake up at night is trying to solve their life’s problems. The reason why this is a horrible idea is that when the brain abruptly transitions from a state of sleep (be it the deeper non-REM [non-Rapid Eye Movement] sleep or the lighter REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep) to an alert and wakeful state, its level of cognitive capacity is significantly compromised, impairing one’s problem-solving abilities and leading to sub-optimal decision-making.
At nighttime, our perception of problems is profoundly distorted. During this time, the mind perceives even inconsequential issues as severe and insurmountable; it magnifies negative thoughts, making them seem more overwhelming than they actually are. This subsequently increases cortisol and adrenaline secretion, induces anxiety, and makes it difficult to fall back asleep.
Whenever you wake up at night, it is crucial that you use your willpower to resist the temptation to engage with thoughts, which will inevitably try to steal your attention. Failure to do so will put you in a viscous cycle of unproductive thinking, undue stress, and disrupted sleep patterns, eventually leading to chronic sleep deprivation and its associated negative effects.
Below are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of waking up during the night.
- Eat a clean, whole-food diet.
- Limit fluid intake to two hours before sleep.
- Do not consume stimulants (e.g., coffee, energy drinks, etc.) after noon (12 p.m.).
- Keep the bedroom temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 16 to 21 degrees Celsius) at night.
- Limit exposure to screens to 8 hours a day, and avoid screens at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Install blackout blinds (organic/non-toxic ones).
- Adhere to a strict ethical code and act according to your principles so that you maintain a clear conscience. (A guilty conscience and remorse will override everything written above and prevent you from experiencing restful, uninterrupted sleep.)
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