So… did you know we haven’t always expected to sleep deeply all night? Back in medieval times first and second sleeps were part of the language and everyday life of the people. (I wonder is that like first and second breakfast?)
Apparently we went to bed early, got a good few hours of restful sleep and then woke up, prayed, wrote poetry, had sex, chatted, even visited the neighbors, before going back to bed for a final zizz before morning. I was so interested to read about this – I remember meeting an amazing woman years ago at a workshop who just expected every night to wake and spent that time writing a book. She had no stress about it, she just did it. She inspired me to welcome the night time wake-fuls and it took a whole level of stress away around the concept of sleep. She called it the witching hour and said that women around the world wake at that time to connect in spirit. I liked that concept.
I still, if I toss and turn in the night, either meditate or just get up and write or do something. I find, as long as I don’t stress about it, that when I check in I have still had a full 8 or so hours of sleep. And, as long as I don’t stress about missing out on sleep or think I am doing it wrong it has no impact on me.
So, my final thought is – if you are a middle of the night waker change your perspective on what constitutes a good nights sleep and see if that helps you enjoy your nights rest more. Perhaps try going to sleep early and then, when you wake, have a guided meditation or your journal ready. Or whatever! Once you feel complete – maybe an hour or so – let yourself fall back into your second sleep. Might be worth trying.