Why Do I Keep Waking Up at Night? 8 Tips

Constantly waking up at night? Stellar Sleep has eight tips to counteract the factors that may be stopping you from getting a good night’s rest.

Having irregular sleep patterns can have a negative effect on physical and mental health. There’s nothing positive about laying awake at three in the morning with thoughts running through your head, unable to fall back asleep, and unsure what to do about it. 

Why do I keep waking up at night? How can I stop waking up? Stellar Sleep has eight tips to help you get the high-quality, restorative sleep you deserve. 

What Makes You Wake Up at Night?

Everyone is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what wakes people up at night. The truth is, most people have had at least a few sleepless nights in their lives — with a large percentage experiencing what is known as sleep maintenance insomnia (where you can’t fall back asleep after waking up). 

However, there are a few common factors that lead to these middle-of-the-night wake-up sessions: 

  • External stimuli like temperature or light
  • Psychological struggles like stress
  • Bladder control problems
  • Night terrors
  • Diet and alcohol consumption
  • Physical sleep issues like obstructive sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, and restless legs syndrome 

A close look at why you’re waking up (especially with a CBT-I coach) can help you make the necessary changes to get the sleep you deserve.

How Can You Stop Waking Up at Night?

If you’re wondering why you keep waking up at night, here are eight tips that can help you avoid sleep disturbances. 

1. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene isn’t a cure-all, but practicing good sleep hygiene can make a major dent in any sleep-related issues you may be having. How you treat your sleep routine can impact daytime sleepiness, nighttime awakenings, and the total hours of sleep you get. Sleep hygiene factors include using blue light electronic devices, room temperature, how comfortable your bed is, and more. 

The good news is that sleep hygiene is often completely within your control — once you know what you’re doing “wrong,” you can change those things and get better sleep.

2. Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Consistency is important with every new routine, and being consistent with your sleep schedule is no different. Start with developing a sleep schedule that you can stick with, then follow it, even on nights, weekends, and holidays. 

If possible, try to avoid taking naps, as throwing off your typical routine can only further your sleep health issues. If you find you need some shut-eye during the day, do your best to limit this to 20 minutes.

3. Address Health Conditions

Sleep-related health conditions may be behind why you keep waking up at night. One of the most common sleep problems is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which often requires treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. 

See a sleep medicine healthcare provider if you suspect you’re dealing with a medical condition, as you may need a sleep study conducted. 

Other health conditions can also impact your ability to get quality sleep. Night sweats and hot flashes related to menopause, blood pressure issues, acid reflux, and medication side effects (common with antidepressants and stimulants) can also impact your sleep cycle. 

4. Consult a Sleep Psychologist

To help address non-physical sleep issues, consult a sleep psychologist. Sleep psychologists take a holistic approach to sleep disorders, looking at the psychological and behavioral factors that cause bedtime troubles. They can help you address problems with your sleep habits and stress levels, ensuring you can make the necessary changes to get your best night’s rest. 

5. Limit Water Before Bed

Drinking water is the best way to hydrate your body. However, even though you may keep a bottle of water on you all day, you’ll want to make a conscious effort to limit your intake about two hours before bed.

Too much hydration close to bedtime can wake you up in the middle of the night, especially if you have given birth or are an older adult. Making a conscious decision to decrease your intake before bed can help reduce the risk of nocturia or multiple episodes of urination during the night).

6. Soothe Sources of Pain

Although pain is more likely to keep you up instead of waking you up, finding ways to reduce your pain level is good for your sleep and overall body. Chronic pain can be incredibly distracting, so soothing your pain before you get into bed and try to fall asleep is essential. 

7. Keep the Room Cool

The temperature of your bedroom is also important to achieve deep sleep. When your sleeping environment is too hot or cold, it can be physically and mentally distracting. Keeping your space at a comfortable temperature can help take the focus off your body temperature so you can drift off seamlessly into dreamland. 

8. Manage Your Stress

Stress can have an impact on the entire body, including your sleep quality. High stress levels can make it difficult to fall asleep or increase the difficulty of returning to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. 

Taking steps to manage stress by using therapy, practicing relaxation techniques, and setting aside time for self-care can also help you get longer, better sleep. 

Why Is Getting Enough Sleep Important?

Most people know that sleep is essential, but the importance of a good night’s rest can often be overlooked.

What makes sleep so essential? Sleep can have a whole-body impact along with diet, exercise, and hydration. Sleep can impact the release of hormones into the system (including estrogen, ghrelin, leptin, progesterone, and testosterone), and can even impact your metabolism and response to insulin. 

Poor sleep can contribute to an increased risk of certain health conditions, including obesity, and can impair your immune system — which has the potential to wreak havoc on your overall health. 

With this in mind, remember that working with a sleep specialist to resolve issues with your bedtime routine is essential. 

The Bottom Line

Instead of accepting that you’re destined to have a less-than-restful night’s sleep, fight back to get the sleep you deserve. Our sleep app is a great place to start — our cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) coaches are ready to help you develop a plan to get your sleep back on track.

Take our free sleep quiz to help you guide you in getting a better night’s rest. 

 

Sources:

Sleep timing, sleep consistency, and health in adults: a systematic review | PubMed

A comprehensive review of obstructive sleep apnea | PMC

The Temperature Dependence of Sleep | PMC

Stress and sleep | APA

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