How to Get Back to Sleep Once You Wake Up
Having a sleep disorder that’s ongoing can be very frustrating. You’re sick of being irritable, tired of feeling sleepy all day, and too exhausted to think straight and find a solution on your own.
Your anxiety about not sleeping will build over time. As one night turns into one month, you begin to panic, and when you wake up in the middle of the night, your anxiety contributes to you not being able to get back to sleep.
First, think about why you’re not sleeping soundly through the night. Try to remedy any exterior distractions, such as the alarm clock light that glows in your face, the noise you hear outside from the traffic, or a pet that routinely crawls in and out of your bed, waking you up every couple of hours.
Sometimes it’s a habit that you need to change. You may think you’re doing yourself a favor going to bed at 7 PM, but because it’s so early, it might actually be causing you to wake up too early.
Whatever the cause – the solution you seek when you’re awoken during the middle of the night is to get back to sleep. But how – when your frustration is at an all-time high? Make sure you don’t add anything stimulating to the mix.
Flipping on the TV or turning on the light to read a book is only waking you up further. You want to do something relaxing, but don’t lay in bed fuming over the fact that your sleep partner’s snoring woke you up again.
Instead, try visualization or self-hypnosis to calm your nerves and help you fall back asleep. You can release tension to start the visualization process by tensing and releasing different parts of your body, such as your fists, your toes, your shoulders, and more.
Then begin a series of deep breathing exercises. Breathe in deep through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Some people like to focus solely on their breathing to fall back asleep, while others prefer to visual a tranquil scene, like a brook running through a lush forest.
Others like to visualize themselves in the scene, such as a warm day at the beach, listening to the waves roll in and out. If this helps you, try to concentrate on all of your senses during the visualization process.
If you’re unfamiliar with self-hypnosis or visualization, you can invest in some downloads or CDs that provide instructions and guidance in the process as well as ideas and sounds to set the scene for you.
How a Good Sleep Pillow Can Help You Rest Better
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Good sleep isn’t missed until you suddenly don’t have it anymore. You might have heard about how important it is to have the right bed in order to sleep well.
But you might not know that each part of your bed is crucial for helping you get a good night’s sleep. It’s true that having the right mattress will help you get rest, but having the wrong kind of pillow can derail any good that a mattress can do for your sleep.
The good news is that having the right pillow is an easy fix if yours isn’t helping you sleep well. When you lie down on the bed, the way your bones are supported is important.
Your spine can twist into and remain at the wrong angle without the right pillow. This misalignment during sleep can cause a host of aches and pains. You need a good pillow for proper neck support.
Without it, you end up with a stiff and aching neck and stiff, painful shoulders, too. Without the best pillow for your body, you can toss and turn and have your sleep cycle broken. It can even interfere with your blood circulation if you choose the wrong pillow.
We all have our favorite ways to sleep. Because not everyone falls asleep in the same position (some are back sleepers, while others sleep on their side or on their stomach), you need a pillow designed for your specific sleep style.
Not only should your pillow cushion your head, but it should support your neck and help keep your spine aligned straight. Having the wrong pillow can cause you to have headaches from the strain on your muscles and spine.
What criteria should you base your pillow selection on? Your selection should be based on two factors – how you sleep and what kind of filling you prefer. For those who like to sleep on their side, there’s a gap of space between the head and the shoulder.
That gap has to be filled in with support from a pillow to avoid muscle aches and misalignment of the spine. Choose a pillow, such as a feather pillow, that will allow you to manipulate it to fit that gap.
If sleeping on your back is your preference, remember not to use a fluffy pillow or sleep on more than one pillow because this makes your neck crooked and puts pressure on your spine.
If you have to sleep with your head elevated, it’s best to elevate the head of your bed rather than using extra pillows. For those who sleep on their stomach, using a thin pillow is a good choice to keep the bones aligned and the blood circulation flowing.
What to Expect at a Sleep Disorder Overnight Sleep Center
I f you think you may have a sleep disorder, your primary doctor or a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders may send you to a sleep center for diagnosis. There are a large number of sleep centers located across the United States and their numbers are increasing. Sleep centers in the United States must be accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
When a person goes to a sleep center, it is usually for an overnight stay. Costs involved for most sleep study tests range from one to three thousand dollars and many need to be repeated twice. The first visit to diagnose the sleep disorder and the second to get accurate settings for any PAP machines that may be needed. Health insurance generally pays all or most of the cost of the tests needed to diagnose a sleep disorder.
Once an appointment has been made, many sleep centers send a sleep diary to the patient. The information from the sleep diary is used by the doctors to understand general sleeping patterns.
It is also recommended that no caffeine or alcohol be consumed after 12:00 p.m. on the day of the scheduled test.
Generally, the patient packs an overnight bag just as if they were going to stay at a hotel overnight. During the sleep study, you wear your own nightclothes and you can use a favorite pillow from home. You can bring a book or magazine if you like to read before falling asleep. Most sleep centers resemble a hotel room and have a television to watch if that is what the patient usually does before going to sleep at home. Once you are relaxed the sleep center technician starts preparation for the equipment needed to record your patterns of sleep.
Diagnosis from a sleep center study is made using polysomnography which records a continual record of your sleep. In order to take a specific reading slightly more than two dozen small thin electrodes are pasted to specific parts of your body. They are placed under your chin, on your scalp, near your eyes and nose, on your finger, chest, and legs, and also over the rib muscles and on the abdomen. These electrodes then record various types of readings during the night. Often audio and videotape are also made to monitor sleep noises and movement.
Once all the equipment is in place the sleep technician leaves you alone to fall asleep. Even with all the equipment, it is not uncomfortable. It is easy to move or turn onto your side. Each bedroom in a sleep center also has an automatic intercom so it is easy to call the technician if needed for such things as a bathroom break. When the sleep study is completed, the technician may wake you. Most studies that are used to diagnose a sleep disorder take seven to eight hours.
The reading is collected on a computer file called a polysomnogram and is monitored and analyzed by the sleep technician during the night. The results are then sent for further readings to determine if there is a sleep disorder.
Although a sleep study may not sound comfortable, it is very important to determine and treat any sleep disorder.