4 Tips to Help Your Loved One Get Back to Sleep in the Middle of the Night
March 15, 2016
Home Care in Palo Alto CA
Sometimes your loved one can fall asleep fairly well but then wakes up at some point in the middle of the night. This can be difficult, especially if your loved one spends several hours awake, only to fall asleep in the early morning hours. Then waking up becomes a chore, and the sleep problems just continue. Try following some of these tips to see if they help your loved one to get back to sleep more quickly.Don't Try to Force ItA big issue for a lot of people who wake up in the middle of the night is that they immediately start to think about how badly they need to get back to sleep. That can be a problem for your loved one, too. The best thing to do at this point is to remember not to try too hard to go back to sleep. If your loved one is finding it more and more difficult to get back to sleep, encourage her to try something else for a little while.Shut Off the Worrying and PlanningOnce your loved one is awake, even just a little bit, it's easy for her subconscious to send through all kinds of thoughts, worries, and plans for the next day or even farther into the future. Help her to develop a routine where she shuts down those thoughts and worries as soon as they start. She can set aside time when she gets up the next day to focus on those thoughts, but she can't spend time in bed thinking about all of those concerns. This can take some practice, but it's worth it.Do Something ElseSometimes your loved one just needs to do something else for a little while in order to gear back down to fall asleep again. You do want to encourage her to avoid anything that involves bright lighting, such as turning on the television or a tablet, but reading can be a good way to get her brain tired again. A cup of warm milk or herbal tea can also help, especially if your loved one is actually a little bit thirsty but doesn’t realize it. The key here is to avoid bright lighting and heavy activity.Focus on Relaxing Instead of SleepingYou can also help your loved one to rephrase what she's trying to do. Sometimes the word "sleep" can be intimidating when you can't sleep, so help her to focus on relaxing instead. Have her try longer and longer sessions of deep breathing or visualization to help her to refocus her brain and hopefully drift off to sleep. Keeping the focus off "getting back to sleep" can often be just the thing to help her fall back asleep.
Don't forget to talk to your loved one's home care providers about other suggestions that can help your loved one in the middle of the night.