Probably the most common question asked in my insomnia workshops is what to do about those pesky middle of the night wake-ups. There’s not any one right answer, particularly since it largely depends upon what’s woken the sleeper in the first location.
Wake up for no reason?
Today I want to focus on a particular situation common to most every course: “What about those nights when I have NO IDEA why I’m awake? Those nights when I am overly worried and angry about anything in particular, but I wake up for no reason.” Here are my advices:
Try to not awake fully
When you notice you’re awake, do the best to not awaken fully. Don’t open your eyes and do not look at the clock: simply try to soothe yourself back to sleep. Sometimes this works.
Give yourself a gentle window to fall back to sleep
Should you completely awaken, go ahead and examine the clock, go to the toilet if need be, and then give yourself a gentle window of approximately 15-20 minutes to fall back to sleep, with whatever relaxation technique you will know. I sometimes concentrate on breathing in and out through my heart, imagining white light surrounding me and going through my entire body. Some of my customers count backward, others hear something soothing. Whatever works! If you haven’t fallen asleep after about 15-20 minutes, ask yourself an important question: Am I feeling calm, relaxed, or am I feeling frustrated or stressed I am not sleeping yet? This might seem silly, but it’s an essential distinction to make. Generally speaking, for those people with sensitive sleep systems, emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, and disappointment push sleep away, while feelings of love, security, and confidence invite sleep in. If you’re genuinely feeling relaxed, peaceful, and serene you may either fall asleep or at least be able to break your body and mind.
I know for myself, but with my vast history of insomnia and being gloomy during the day for this, I could go from peacefully sleeping to irate I have awakened in a couple of minutes. Some nights I will tune into white light, deep breathing, comforting ideas and soothing feelings and return to sleep quite quickly and other nights I can’t. I’m simply too angry, anxious or frustrated that my sleep was interrupted again. For all those nights I recommend a variant of EFT/tapping known as the “Release and Replace Technique.”
Release Bad Emotions
For the launch component of this procedure, I tune in to the negative emotion, trying to make it as powerful as possible, and tap as hard as I can – virtually thumping — about the points. For example, while tapping on the side of the hand I might say something like,
Despite the fact that I’m disappointed, frustrated, and stressed that I am awake at this hour when I was desperately hoping to sleep during the night, I’m choosing to feel these feelings completely and discharge them.
As I drum on every stage, I envision each emotion releasing as black smoke:
- Head: all this frustration
- Eyebrows: all this anger
- Side of the eyes: so disappointed
- Under the eyes: I wanted to be asleep but I’m awake
- Upper lip: I’m awake AGAIN
- Chin: so frustrated
- Collar bones: anxious!
- Under the armall: disappointment
I then sit for a minute and imagine all these negative feelings drifting off in a cloud of black smoke, finally vanishing into nothing.
Switch to Positive Emotions
When I feel more impartial, I start the replacing part of this procedure. The idea is to replace the feelings that maintain away sleep, such as anger, frustration, and anxiety, with those who encourage sleep in, such as love, trust, and gratitude. These feelings could be harder to get in touch with compared to the frustration and anger. That’s right on the surface, but here are a few suggestions:
- Focus on somebody or something that you love deeply: your kid’s face, your pet’s, or the face of anyone else you love very much
- Focus on somebody or something you’re thankful for
- Imagine a place of deep peace and security
- Imagine connecting with a higher power and being enfolded in its arms and comforted back to sleep.
- Think about anything at all that brings a smile or pleasure to your heart
I then sit and let my heart to fill with white light and unconditional love. I send it out to the Universe in all directions.
In only a brief time I will go from irate and wide awake to calm and prepared to sleep. The other night I went back to bed and slept nearly six more hours!
Next time you wake up for no apparent reason, and you’re not able to soothe yourself back to sleep over 15-20 minutes, ask yourself how you’re feeling about being alert. If you’re experiencing feelings which are chasing away sleep, trying releasing them and replacing them with feelings which encourage sleep in. You could be pleasantly surprised to have a nice night after all.