It’s 4:14am and I’ve just woken up and sprung out of bed to turn my computer on.
I couldn’t sleep.
My mind was buzzing and I had a million different thoughts running through my head. This is something that is not uncommon to many people, in fact, recent studies have shown that people with higher intelligence find it more difficult to sleep due to their brain constantly buzzing! I’m not sure of the exact science behind this though or how valid it would be, but I’m happy to read it! 😛
But it got me thinking… in fact, of course it got me thinking… I was thinking so much that I couldn’t sleep and now I am here, lonely and sitting in the dark with a bright screen glaring in my face.
It got me thinking that it’s such a waste of time just lying in bed when we know we can’t sleep. Why lye there when you know you’re not going to sleep? Previously when my mind has been buzzing in the middle of the night, I have tried ‘forcing’ myself to sleep, although this strategy just ends up getting me more frustrated and I stay awake for longer or until my mind and body just finally gets exhausted enough to fall asleep again.
The Best Ideas Come in the Middle of the Night
But the other thing is, I find the best ideas come in the middle of the night.
There is something about it. Your mind is free when you are sleeping. Everything always seems to be so clear. Everything always seems to be so easy, so tangible and great. Yes, it seems that every idea at 4am in the morning is the best idea EVER!
No doubt about it that writing this article right now is the best idea I have ever had. I know that after going back to bed after this, I will wake up, satisfied that I have actually had a productive night and have a full day ahead of me to do what I want! Which will probably include me writing another article anyway, because I love doing this 😀
When your mind starts buzzing with ideas, DO NOT WASTE THIS OPPORTUNITY!
Jump out of bed and take action!
Countless times I have been lying in bed in the middle of the night, struggling to sleep and I have all of these amazing ideas that I think I will remember in the morning and action them then. But when I wake up in the morning I’ve completely forgotten what my ideas were!
If you’re going to spend 2 hours lying in bed, struggling to get some sleep when your mind in buzzing, why not make that 2 hours productive and take action on your ideas?
I’ve started to do this more recently and it’s having some great benefits!
The Benefits of Waking Up in the Middle of the Night and Taking Action
You get stuff done!
There is no doubt about it. The biggest and best benefit of waking up in the middle of the night and taking action is that you get stuff done! I have found that this is one of my most productive times of the day. Why? Because there are absolutely no distractions (not even the swaying of the leaves on the trees outside… because I can’t see them it’s that dark!)
It feels good!
There’s just something about it! Sitting here right now, it’s SO VERY DARK and SO VERY QUIET. It’s kind of like I’m doing some top-secret work… and I guess I am. I’m helping you understand how to benefit from your middle-of-the-night insomnia while living it right now.
Your mind stops buzzing!
Taking action on your ideas when you wake up in the middle of the night means that you don’t have to worry about trying to remember things and thinking about doing them when day breaks. Why? Because you’ve already done it!
Getting out of bed and actioning your ideas helps you to progress them to a stage where you are comfortable with where they are going and what it to be done. You end up feeling satisfied and complete and no longer need to keep thinking through your ideas.
You can sleep!
After spending an hour or two on the task at hand and putting your ideas into practice, you’ll be ready to get back to sleep!
Because your mind would have now stopped buzzing (because your ideas are now actioned), and the fact that your natural tendency to sleep will be kicking in pretty strongly again at this stage, you will be able to fall asleep again much quicker and much easier and get a super-nights rest.
The only downside to waking up in the middle of the night with your ideas and actioning them is that it may eat into your normal sleep time.
For example, you may normally get 8 hours of sleep per night and you have to wake up to get ready for work at 7am. If you’re up in the middle of the night for 2 hours, you’ll obviously only get 6 hours sleep as you can’t sleep in past 7am.
The good thing? Our bodies and mind are built to last and built to be capable of varying amounts of sleep. By waking up in the middle of the night and having only 6 hours of sleep in one night, means that when it comes to sleeping in the following night you will be even more exhausted, tired and will actually have a super-deep sleep… a great feeling!
What do you do when you wake up in the middle of the night? I would love to hear your comments below!
If you haven’t already, you can join the exclusive Action Team in preparation for the Change Your Life course coming in 2013. You will learn step-by-step how to find your purpose in life and work towards it. Plus you will get early access and special offers.Get Inspirational Quotes and Inspirational Pictures straight to your Facebook feed! ‘Like’ and Subscribe to our Facebook page and share the Happiness with your friends!.Image 1, 2
a very nice idea about utilizing your time. But its also important to have good sleep
If I can’t sleep after lying down for 20-30 minutes, I always get up. If you’re struggling to sleep, fighting it won’t help. Doing something productive for 30 minutes and then going back to bed can often help you catch a better part of sleep cycle, and fall asleep right away. Be careful not to view any bright screens, as that will make it harder to fall asleep. A computer screen is just like looking at sunlight, or so I’ve heard.
You got that right Mr. Inspiration!
Good point on the bright screens. I am SO guilty of this, I know I shouldn’t because it does wake you up like crazy, but sometimes I just need to get to work 🙂
I feel like this happens every night! Haha. The worst is when I try and watch a Ted talk on my tablet before falling asleep. I realized that was a bad idea. I’ve moved on to the Game of Thrones series for now to keep my mind from spinning. Helps me doze off.
When I just can’t keep my mind clear I brain dump on my iPhone notes app. It’s a great feeling though, having ideas, being curious, thinking. Wouldn’t have it any other way, sleep or no sleep.
Ahaha, crazy Aaron! I know what you mean!
There’s science behind the last thing we read/watch before going to bed stays in our mind. It’s a good tool for helping develop yourself (however it can keep your mind buzzing at night, yes!).
Great work on doing the brain dump… I do this, but it tends to go on for a while 😀
yes, i have the best ideas at night and feel more creative late night too. i once came up with a great title for a book that kept me up at night but now i just need to write it!
That’s great news Janet!
I’m glad you have found that night time works well for you as well. Maybe next time you wake up in the middle of the night you can put your creative juices to work and start your book! 🙂
You are absolutely right, my friend!!!
It isn’t the lack of sleep that leaves us tired; it’s the stress of not getting rest that leaves us tired. It’s been proven that four hours of “solid” sleep are better than eight hours of tossing and turning. I’m going to focus on incorporating this practice in my life. When I get married in April, I might annoy my new wife by waking her up, but she sleeps to much anyway ;).
Thank you for sharing your wisdom,
You’re right in that 4 solid hours of sleep are better than 8 hours of tossing and turning. This is exactly the point! Tossing and turning and ‘resting’ in bed is not included in the widely recommended 8 hours of sleep. This is not scientifically classified as ‘sleep’ as you don’t get the benefits of sleep.
I’m glad that you’re going to give it a go! I highly recommend it. I’ve had some of my most productive sessions in the middle of the night! It works extremely well when the next day is a weekend and you can head back to bed and sleep in a little 🙂
this is the most ridiculous idea ever it is not healthy to be getting up inthe night broken sleep is not good for you and will affect your daily functioning why would you want to be tired and grumpy all day because you have lost 2/3 hours sleep,the key should be to find a way of dealing with these thoughts before you go to bed say 2 hours quiet time or going for a walk writing down your thoughts anything but breaking your sleep patern waking up will just become a habit, you should think twice before putting illinformed ideas like this on the site,this will not bring enyone happiness,ridiculous
I appreciate the comment. There is no doubt that sleep deprivation impacts your daily functioning. But why spend 2 to 3 hours lying in bed ‘restless’ when those 2-3 hours can be made productive?
As I mention in the post, your body has been built to last. I don’t encourage individuals to do this every night as I agree with you, it’s not sustainable. You physically won’t be able to do this every night as you will become extremely tired and end up having the deepest sleep you have ever had.
There are other strategies such as writing out your thoughts before going to bed or having a notepad beside your bed to take any thoughts down. However, when your mind is buzzing and you know you’re not going to be able to sleep, make the most of it! Either way, you’re going to end up tired the next day! It’s your choice if you want to be productive or continue having a restless night.
I think you missed the point Alan. Let me clarify it for you . . .
You have two options when you wake up in the middle of the night with your mind abuzz and restless: you can lay awake, tossing and turning in frustration. Or you can get your ass up and do something productive. Your choice.
Either way it’s sleep lost.
Frankly, I think laying around in bed while you’re wide awake is a foolish waste of time. Better to be doing something useful.