Pick the one you want most

Allows us to better understand your problem

Sleep through the nightFall asleep fasterSleep without pills
Understanding Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Better Sleep Starts Now

Take Your Sleep Quiz
September 2, 2023

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia Explained: A Step-by-Step Guide

Medically reviewed by: 

Do you find yourself lying awake in bed, unable to fall back asleep? If so, you may be experiencing sleep maintenance insomnia. This common sleep disorder can have a significant impact on your daily life and overall well-being. Are you wondering if you have insomnia? Take our Insomnia Quiz to find out if you have insomnia.

What is Sleep Maintenance Insomnia?

Understanding the basics of sleep maintenance insomnia involves recognizing its distinct characteristics. Sleep maintenance insomnia refers to the difficulty in staying asleep throughout the night, resulting in frequent awakenings and trouble falling back asleep. It is crucial to differentiate this sleep disorder from other common sleep disturbances such as difficulties with initial bedtime or simply waking up feeling tired.

Sleep maintenance insomnia is characterized by frequent awakenings during the night and difficulty falling back asleep, making it distinct from other common sleep disturbances. Differentiating this condition from other sleep disorders can help identify effective interventions for better management and tailored treatment options.

While many individuals experience occasional awakenings during the night, those with sleep maintenance insomnia face persistent challenges when it comes to staying asleep. Unlike traditional insomnias that primarily involve difficulties getting to bed or waking up too early, sleep maintenance insomnia specifically focuses on disrupted periods of slumber once already asleep. Understanding these distinctions can help identify appropriate interventions for better management and treatment options tailored specifically for this condition.


Recognizing common symptoms is crucial in understanding sleep maintenance insomnia. Individuals with this condition often struggle to stay asleep throughout the night, experiencing frequent awakenings and difficulty falling back asleep. These disruptions can have a significant impact on daily functioning, leading to daytime fatigue, decreased concentration, and irritability. Both physical signs such as restless tossing and turning in bed and emotional signs like frustration and anxiety are characteristic of sleep maintenance insomnia.


Identifying potential triggers is crucial in understanding sleep maintenance insomnia. Stress, irregular sleep schedule, and environmental factors like noise or temperature can disrupt the ability to stay asleep. Psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, or racing thoughts at bedtime may also contribute to the disorder. Furthermore, certain medical conditions and medications can interfere with sleep maintenance, including chronic pain conditions or medications that stimulate wakefulness.

In order to effectively address sleep maintenance insomnia, it is important to consider the various causes that may be contributing to this condition. By identifying potential triggers such as stress and environmental factors, addressing psychological influences like anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime becomes essential. Additionally, individuals should evaluate any underlying medical conditions they have along with their current medication regimen which might affect their ability to remain asleep throughout the night

Effects of Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

  1. Daytime Fatigue and Sleepiness

Difficulty staying awake during the day, feeling groggy and tired despite a full night's sleep, and frequent yawning throughout the day are common symptoms of sleep maintenance insomnia. This type of insomnia is characterized by difficulty staying asleep once you have initially fallen asleep. As a result, your sleep is frequently interrupted, leading to daytime fatigue and excessive sleepiness. Despite getting what should be an adequate amount of rest at night, you may still find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day and feeling constantly tired.

These daytime symptoms can significantly impact your daily functioning and overall quality of life. Difficulty focusing on tasks or maintaining productivity may become challenges as you battle with feelings of exhaustion throughout the day. Additionally, constant yawning can hinder social interactions or professional engagements by creating a perception that you are disinterested or lacking energy. It is important to address these symptoms promptly in order to improve your well-being and restore healthy sleeping patterns.

  1. Mood Disturbances

Increased irritability and frustration can be common symptoms of sleep maintenance insomnia. The ongoing struggle to stay asleep throughout the night can leave individuals feeling on edge and easily irritated by small things. Furthermore, heightened levels of anxiety or depression may also arise as a result of the disrupted sleep pattern, impacting overall mood and emotional well-being. Emotional instability due to lack of quality sleep is another significant factor that contributes to mood disturbances in individuals experiencing sleep maintenance insomnia, further exacerbating feelings of irritability and anxiety throughout the day.

  1. Impaired Cognitive Function

Poor concentration and memory retention can be one of the consequences of sleep maintenance insomnia. Individuals may struggle to focus on tasks or remember important information, affecting their productivity and overall cognitive performance.

Slower reaction times and decreased alertness are common issues related to sleep maintenance insomnia. These individuals may find it challenging to react quickly in daily situations, increasing the risk of accidents or errors.

Difficulty making decisions or solving problems is another manifestation of impaired cognitive function caused by sleep maintenance insomnia. The lack of quality sleep can impair critical thinking skills, making it harder for individuals to evaluate options and come up with effective solutions.

Remember that addressing your sleep maintenance insomnia is crucial for improving these cognitive dysfunctions and overall well-being.

Treating Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) offers a comprehensive approach to treating sleep maintenance insomnia by addressing both the underlying causes and the symptoms that perpetuate the condition. Through techniques such as stimulus control, sleep restriction, and relaxation training, CBT-I aims to reestablish healthy sleep patterns and restore optimal functioning.

Sleep Hygiene

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can greatly improve sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Incorporate relaxing activities into your routine, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to signal to your body that it's time to wind down for sleep.

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is essential for reducing sleep maintenance insomnia. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet by using blackout curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines if necessary. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support proper spinal alignment. Minimize exposure to electronic devices before bed as the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt melatonin production and interfere with sleep quality.

Avoid stimulating activities before bed that can hinder falling asleep easily. Engaging in intense exercise or consuming caffeine close to bedtime can make it harder for you to relax and drift off into deep slumber. Instead of watching thrilling movies or participating in exciting conversations right before bed, opt for calming activities like gentle stretching or practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.

Remember that good sleep hygiene practices are crucial when managing sleep maintenance insomnia effectively.

Lifestyle Changes for Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Lifestyle changes can significantly improve sleep maintenance insomnia. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine helps signal to your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Creating a sleep-friendly environment by minimizing noise, light, and electronic devices in the bedroom also promotes better rest. Additionally, managing stress and anxiety through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation can help alleviate symptoms of insomnia.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time is crucial for establishing a solid bedtime routine. By going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, your body will naturally adjust to this schedule, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Avoiding stimulating activities before bed, such as using electronic devices, is key in preparing your mind for sleep. Instead, engage in relaxing activities like reading or taking a warm bath to promote relaxation and signal to your body that it's time to unwind.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial for getting a restful night's sleep. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Keeping your bedroom dark and quiet: Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any light, and consider using earplugs or white noise machines to minimize external noises.
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature in the room: Keep the temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius) for optimal sleep conditions.
  • Investing in a supportive mattress and pillow: Choose a mattress that provides adequate support for your body, as well as a pillow that aligns with your sleeping position.

By implementing these strategies, you can create an environment that promotes better quality sleep, helping you overcome sleep maintenance insomnia.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help manage stress and anxiety. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath or engage in mindfulness can provide immediate relief and promote long-term well-being. Implementing stress management strategies throughout the day, like exercise or journaling, can also be effective in reducing stress levels. Regular physical activity boosts mood and reduces tension, while writing down your thoughts and feelings helps release emotional pressure. Seeking professional help is crucial if you are dealing with underlying anxiety disorders that require specialized treatment and guidance.


The importance of seeking professional help cannot be overstated when it comes to managing sleep maintenance insomnia. A qualified healthcare provider can accurately diagnose the underlying causes of your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Additionally, they can guide you through various evidence-based therapies and provide ongoing support throughout your journey towards better sleep.

While seeking professional help is crucial, there are also some tips for managing sleep maintenance insomnia on your own. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a relaxing sleep environment, limiting caffeine intake, and engaging in relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation can all contribute to improved sleep quality. It's important to remember that self-management strategies may complement professional guidance but should not replace it entirely.

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

To get started with Sleep Reset, all you need to do is take our sleep quiz! This will allow us to identify some of your key issues. After your quiz, you can choose to be assigned your own sleep coach and get our dedicated sleep app.

Your sleep coach and our app will give you the tools and the program you need to get better sleep and feel your best!