A sleep specialist has given some sound advice on what not to do if you wake up in the middle of the night.
It'll come as little surprise to find that not looking at the time is one of them, but that nagging urge to get up and go to the toilet can also hinder us falling back to sleep.
Dr. Michael Breus - aka the Sleep Doctor and author of The Power of When - told The Independent (from the INSIDER summary) his tips on catching some much-needed shut-eye if you happen to wake up before your alarm, starting with not going to the bathroom, unless you really, really need to.
Breus claims that by just sitting up in bed, the heart rate increases and disrupts the rate at which your heart should be beating when you sleep. For most people this is 60 beats per minute, but if you get up, your heart has to pump against gravity and therefore at a rate above 60 beats.
In order to reclaim your unconsciousness, your heartbeat has to go back down to 60, which obviously won't happen straight away - and is often the reason why it's not always easy to get back to sleep.
Another tip Breus shared is that no matter how hard it can be, try to relax and clear your mind. Don't check your phone for any updates or to look at the time, however instinctual it is. Seriously, put it down. Panicking while working out the amount of hours sleep left until the alarm goes off is a massive no no too.
Breus adds that a lot of people have an irrational fear of not getting enough hours' sleep, but advises not to stress about the hours slipping away.
Instead, he suggests relaxing, however impossible it may seem at the time, because if you get wound up or anxious, you can kiss goodnight to any sleep at all. He recommends switching off your thoughts and letting sleep happen naturally, without trying to force it.
Via Harper's Bazaar US