Balanced Mind,  Health,  Healthy Body

4 Things to Do in the Middle of the Night When You Can’t Sleep

As I sit here at my desk, at two O’clock a.m., trying to decide what to do, I open my computer. It is quiet, perfect for writing, and I can hear the drizzling rain outside my window. Waking up in the middle of the night seems to have become a habit for me for some unknown reason. I usually don’t get up; I just keep hoping for the best, but this time is different. I am up! I hope my body is happy, so now what to do? First, I go online and read articles, even though medical advice tells me not to. Then I start opening all the mail piled up on my desk. That is not a mundane activity, after all. I just realized that I am a bit sarcastic in the middle of the night and more creative. Maybe I should write my masterpiece at this time of the night? Or is it morning? What is this in-between time where everyone is in bed supposed to be asleep? Let’s see what Google says. Well, that is interesting; Google doesn’t even know. It’s the period after night and just before sunrise, the beginning of morning twilight. If you are up during this period, it is called staying up at or till all hours of the night, and if you are asleep, it doesn’t matter. What the?? I guess I have just arrived at some Neverland place and time where who the heck knows what it is. One thing I know for sure is that it is quiet and dark and chilly and peaceful. No one is calling me. No one needs anything. Everyone is asleep but me! The house is mine! So here is my list of things to do in the middle of the night.

1. Raid the Refrigerator-but in a healthy way

According to Psychology Today, people are more apt to give in to food cravings in dimly lit surroundings because they feel uninhibited. A survey of 401 undergraduates associated binge eating with dimmer light, night-time, and winter. Good thing I just went for a slice of Swiss cheese and half a cup of low-sugar milk. Some other foods to help you sleep are Almonds, Turkey, Chamomile tea, Kiwi fruit, Tart cherry juice, Passionflower tea, Walnuts, or a small serving of fatty Fish. 

2. Become a Night Writer

Vincent Van Gogh said that he often thought that the night was more alive and richly colored than the day. Bursts of inspiration like this at night are frequent within the creative community. Writers, artists, and inventors throughout history have all said they’ve been most inspired during night-time. Our psychology changes at night. At night, several changes in our psychology can cause creative influxes. Some writers like Stephanie Meyer have said the main reason they write at night is due to the lack of distractions: with the kids put to bed and the world outside quiet, there’s very little that can pull them away from their writing. So, write your masterpiece. 

3. Take a Warm Bath

Research suggests a warm bath or shower an hour or two before bedtime can help you unwind and fall asleep faster. Why? It will help lower your core temperature, and that’s a circadian sleep signal. A drop in temperature helps signal to the body that it’s time for bed. It may seem counterintuitive, but a warm bath or shower stimulates the body’s thermoregulatory system, causing blood circulation from the internal core to the peripheral sites of the hands and feet. That can help remove body heat and get the body temperature to go down.

4. Read a book

Regularly getting too little sleep can have a major impact on your physical and emotional well-being. Reading helps put your consciousness on another plane, which will induce sleep. It helps you move into a fictional world, easing the tension and helping you relax. Reading, when combined with insomnia treatment, could help decrease cognitive arousal or “de-stimulate” your brain before bed, promoting longer sleep duration.

Finally, if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up! Try to avoid caffeine after noon and limit alcohol to one drink several hours before bedtime. Develop a routine for good sleep. Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine and stick to it, even on weekends. Try relaxation techniques: Try deep breathing exercises or mindfulness. Pay attention to your sleep environment. Make your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable. Exercise in the evening, but aim to finish your last workout at least two hours before you sleep. Also, try sleeping with a body pillow. Hugging a body pillow can help you get more comfortable and drift off to sleep. Or better yet, get a stuffy!

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