Service of Waking Up in the Middle of the Night: Different Today?

April 27th, 2020

Categories: Anxiety, Fear, Sleep, Stress

I followed for years a ritual to help me go back to sleep should I wake up in the middle of the night but it doesn’t work these days. That’s because I’d listen to the radio allowing me to keep the lights off and my eyes shut. But now news stations unsettle me with death, illness and financial stats; call-in shows disturb me for similar reasons plus rehashed political punditry is not calming. Music doesn’t distract me: my mind wanders to what is troubling me. It becomes the background to my nightmare thoughts.

When I turn on an engaging Netflix series I watch for hours, which defeats the purpose. Plus my eyes are open. They wince at the bright smartphone light if I check texts, emails, twitter and Facebook updates. I can’t respond to texts for fear of waking someone with the telltale ping. Reading a book or attacking my pile of New Yorker magazines are possibilities but they too involve lights and open eyes.

Has your foolproof solution to falling back to sleep deserted you?  What techniques do you use to quiet your mind and keep yourself from thinking negative thoughts in the middle of the night?

12 Responses to “Service of Waking Up in the Middle of the Night: Different Today?”

  1. ASK Said:

    I generally try to read for a while, but with low light…the light level tires my eyes, and makes me sleepy again. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom and I’m too lazy to get up and watch in another room!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If I have a low-watt light bulb I’ll give it a whirl though I may need to keep changing light bulbs which will be a pain…I can be such a fussbudget!

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    I sleep like a rock, but in the event of an exception, there’s a light and a stack of crossword and Sudoku puzzles + pen within an arms reach. I dislike complications.

  4. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: I don’t have negative thoughts. Sometimes I am warm or restless. I listen to a YouTube video and fall asleep before it concludes.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Negative may be inaccurate: Scary or alarming might be closer.

    You point to something though: My apartment is boiling hot. One morning I woke up feeling amazingly well having slept wonderfully. There was no heat and it was 68 degrees. Otherwise it inches close to 80 with the heat off and windows open. You should see how my cactus is growing though!

  6. Michelle Slovak Said:

    Michelle on Facebook: Yes I do and it always works! and doesn’t include counting sheep but the alphabet! I start with positive words..”Appreciation” or names of flowers. You get the drift. You won’t get to Z but if you do start over the alphabet with veggies lol.

  7. Francine Ryan Said:

    Francine on Facebook: Always read in bed for a half hour or more – nothing too agitating; a biography, a history of a famous place or house. That will anesthetize you, I guarantee it.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Good idea for game/puzzle people.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I like your suggestion so much better than a tip you reminded me of–one in which I was to subtract by an odd number–say 13–starting at 200. I thought I was a candidate for a neurologist I had such a hard time of it which kept me awake until I remembered: numbers and I don’t do so well.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I must do this for 1,000 reasons. I won’t admit to how many segments of “Mad Men” I watched last night and at what time I turned off the TV.

  11. Lucille Grippo Said:

    I haven’t slept through the night since this pandemic hit NYC. Maybe end of February? It’s awful. I wake anytime between 2:30-5:00 am. One thing that helps is to put one hand on my heart and one on my stomach and breathe. It doesn’t always work and when that doesn’t help I imagine a time from the past that made me happy.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I will give your tips a try.

    I usually don’t dwell in the past but everything is upside down these days so maybe it is time for me to give memories a whirl. I have so many blessings and amazing experiences to remember.

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