Middle Insomnia – How to Get Back to Sleep in the Middle of the Night
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If you have middle insomnia, also called maintenance insomnia, you are probably either wishing you got more sleep or grateful for the sleep that you do get.
Unlike initial insomnia, where you would have trouble getting to sleep in the first place, those who suffer from maintenance insomnia are able to get to sleep fairly quickly after going to bed. The problem is that someone with maintenance insomnia wakes up in the middle of the night and has trouble getting back to sleep. In fact, getting back to sleep can take hours.
Often the initial reason you wake up is to do something like turn down the heat in the house, go to the bathroom, or close a window. What keeps you awake, though, are your thoughts about sleep. The more you focus on sleep, the harder it is for you to get back to sleep.
The good news for those with middle insomnia is that they have an advantage over those suffering from initial insomnia. At least they get that first sleep in. Those with initial insomnia (not being able to fall asleep until hours after going to bed, if at all) may end up not getting any sleep at all during the night.
If you have middle insomnia, one of the keys to not suffering from it anymore is to eliminate any distractions that might wake you up in the middle of the night. This may include outside noises, temperature changes, and even lights going on in the house or outside. Unfortunately, though, you are not going to be able to eliminate all distractions. It is normal to sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. The real problem is getting back to sleep after waking up.
One good suggestion for anyone suffering from middle insomnia is to keep a sleep diary. Keep track of the time you go to bed as well as the time you wake up. If you know the reason that you woke up, write that down as well. Also keep track of your thoughts while you were awake. You should also include the time that you finally got back to sleep and the time you again woke up in your sleep diary. This will help you to see the reasons that you are waking up as well as how you can again get back to sleep.
A sleep diary can also help you to see if there is a pattern to the times that you wake up. Perhaps you are waking up on a regular basis after REM sleep. If this is the case, your dreams might be the reason you wake up, and they might be contributing to your middle insomnia. It is important that you keep a sleep diary for at least a couple of weeks to discover patterns.
Another way your sleep diary can be helpful in discovering the reason behind your middle insomnia or maintenance insomnia is by writing about your thoughts while you were awake. If you find that you are worrying during this time when you are unable to sleep, you may want to attempt to move this worry time to another part of your day. Schedule in a daily worry time, and you may find yourself falling back to sleep easier at night.
There is also a chance that subconscious causes of insomnia are the culprit — these are thoughts and emotions you’re not even aware of at a conscious level. Dealing with these are a little trickier, but it can certainly be done with the right techniques.