5 Tips for Dealing With Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia

Doctors have some surprising suggestions for anyone who wakes up and can’t fall back asleep, the most common type of insomnia. (Illustrations by Rob Shepperson)
  1. Use blackout curtains. If you do wake up to use the bathroom, don’t throw on the overhead lights. Use a night light instead.
  2. If you’re wide awake, get up. Don’t lie in bed tossing and turning. Do something sedate like knitting or Sudoku. Avoid the computer and the smartphone.
  3. Don’t eat. Snacking in the middle of the night can condition you to keep doing it on subsequent nights. It can lead to weight gain, too.
  4. If you do watch TV, wear sunglasses. That will tone down the light and make it less likely to mess up your circadian system.
  5. Don’t sleep in in the morning. Don’t nap and don’t go to bed early the next night. Doing any of those things will disrupt your sleep timing and can lead to more chronic insomnia.
  6. Read more about how to handle a 2 a.m. wake-up here: http://on.wsj.com/295ZUUb