It's a common sleeping problem that reduces the effectiveness of sleep time: Waking up during the night and not being able to go back to sleep.

Sleep expert Dr. Martin Moore-Ede says people often panic when they wake up too soon. They check the clock and worry about getting enough rest, but that just makes the problem worse.

In his book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Good Night's Sleep (Alpha Books), the doctor says it's best not to get up or turn on the light. Activity and light will waken you even more. Instead, immediately imagine you've just gone to bed for the first time that night.

If you aren't sleeping within 10 minutes, consider what's going on in your mind. Keep a note pad and a pen that lights up by your bed. When you write down what you are thinking, it will often clear your mind.

Inexpensive white-noise generators will mask noise that wakes you. Lightweight foam ear plugs are comfortable when your head is resting on a pillow.