- Limit your non-sleep activity in bed
- Monitor your bedtime routine and limit screen time
- Learn quick tips for reducing anxiety
Waking up too early can suck, especially when you can’t roll over and fall right back to sleep. Should you get up or should you stay in bed? It’s hard, and we get that. So, we’ve designed this comprehensive guide JUST FOR YOU! Here we’ll give you all of the top tips straight from the world’s best sleep experts and therapists.
Unfortunately, the more time you’ve spent in bed “trying” to fall back to sleep, the more likely you are to have problems falling asleep.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP TOO EARLY
1. LET'S TALK ABOUT LIMITING TIME IN BED
Understand that your mind and body want you to sleep
It can feel as though your mind and body are working against you when you wake up too early, but I promise that they love to sleep.
After the 20 minute mark of trying to get back to sleep, your mind will begin to create associations between your bed and the frustration you feel from not being able to fall back to sleep. This could lead to difficulty falling asleep at night too. Here’s your action plan to fix it:
Don't engage in non-sleep activities in bed
You may not feel up to getting out of bed if you’ve woken up earlier than you wanted to, but it’s really important that you don’t opt for laying in bed scrolling through your phone. This can also create an association between your bed and wakeful activity, which leads to further sleep problems.
Get out of bed and do something relaxing: Once you shake off the initial sleepiness after waking, you may realize you actually feel more rested than you thought! That’s great because it means the reason you woke up was that your body got all the sleep it needed.
What if I can’t shake off the sleepiness? If you wake up too early, can’t fall back asleep, and you just can’t seem to shake off that sluggish feeling after getting out of bed, it may mean that your circadian rhythm is out of whack. You should still get out of bed, though. Focus on trying to re-sync your circadian rhythm by monitoring your bedtime routine and limit your screen use.
2. LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE
Monitoring how you spend your time before sleep is important for ensuring you have a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Here’s an action plan for creating a great bedtime routine:
Building a bedtime routine
To get started on your bedtime routine, try setting an alarm about an hour before you normally go to sleep. Once this alarm goes off it’s time to begin your routine!
Step 1: Dim the lights. Using dim lights or even red light bulbs at least an hour before you want to be sleeping will help send signals to your brain that it’s time for melatonin. Melatonin o’clock, if you will. This will make it easier to fall asleep.
Step 2: Log off. Electronics before bed are stimulating and can confuse your brain about whether it’s time for bed. Do your best to power down devices or refrain from using them around 2 hours before bed (that’s the ideal to strive for).
Step 3: Bedtime routine! Building a bedtime routine can be a game-changer! There are three core elements of a good bedtime routine. You may want to play around to see what works for you, but be sure to spend some time with each of the following:
For the first part of your bedtime routine, we recommend some mental decompression. Mental decompression means setting aside time to process your day, reconnect with your mind and body, and let go of your worries so that you don’t carry them into bed! You can try:
Get ready for bed
Getting ready for bed generally means washing your face, brushing your teeth, and any other kind of skincare or self-care routine. We recommend investing in some nice skincare products to make this portion of your evening relaxing and rewarding. You can also take a shower or bath during this time which can help you fall asleep up to 36% faster!
3. LET'S TALK ABOUT REDUCING ANXIETY
As you lay in bed struggling to force yourself back to sleep or focusing on what’s happening that day, what you’re doing is perpetuating anxiety. Reducing your anxiety is imperative for keeping a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Here is your action plan for reducing anxiety:
Breathing exercises are the number one way to reduce anxiety and they’re great because they can be done anytime, anywhere. Exhale all of your anxiety with one of these many amazing breathing techniques:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Box breathing
- 4-7-8 breathing
Check out this article for a step-by-step explanation of how to do each of these breathing techniques!
Relax your anxieties away by engaging in some physical relaxation techniques. Here are our key relaxation techniques for reducing anxiety:
If you find that you’ve tried all of these techniques but you’re still waking up too early and feeling exhausted because of it, as a last resort you can try shifting your bedtime.