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Are you someone who can fall asleep easily, but can’t stay that way? It’s certainly a frustrating problem to face. You drift right into sleep, but you can’t sleep through the night. The problem with waking up frequently is that you usually don’t wake up feeling rested, leaving you tired or fatigued throughout the day.
If you want to stop waking up in the middle of the night, the first thing you need to do is identify the reason(s) you’re waking up. If you’d like expert guidance finding your sleep issues, click below to learn more about Sleep Reset and how we can provide you with a program that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Keep reading to learn more about sleeping through the night.
There are a variety of reasons you can’t stay asleep. The most common triggers have to do with your environment, your mood, and your habits.
There are quite a few triggers that could be causing you to wake up often. Identifying those triggers is going to be the key to improving your sleep. Let’s break down the most common ones into more detail.
If you’re able to eliminate the triggers that make it difficult to stay asleep from your life, you may be able to manage your sleep issues. Here are the most common triggers:
One of the simplest changes you can make (not including the hit to your wallet) is getting a new mattress and new bedding. If you have a lumpy, old, or uncomfortable mattress, it could easily be interfering with your sleep. The same goes for your pillows, sheets, and blankets. If you have scratchy sheets, uncomfortable blankets, or a pill that you hate, you’re not going to get the best sleep possible.
This isn’t as simple of a fix as a new mattress. If you’re waking up frequently to go to the bathroom, it’s best to check with a doctor to make sure there’s not anything more serious going on. Ruling out any serious medical conditions, you may have an overactive bladder or nocturia. These conditions can be treated by limiting fluid intake, reducing consumption of diuretics like alcohol and coffee, elevating legs, and more.
Consuming alcohol or caffeine at the wrong times can disrupt your sleep. Alcohol can help lull you to sleep, but once the effects wear off, your body wakes you up. Try to avoid drinking alcohol right before sleep, and instead plan on having it earlier in the evening. For caffeine, you should plan to limit your consumption even earlier than the evening. Try to stop caffeine consumption before the late afternoon, so your body has plenty of time to process it and get it out of your system.
This is another common trigger that’s not so easily adjusted. Managing stress levels takes some habit changes and mindfulness. But if you go to bed stressed, your sleep may be disrupted throughout the night. It’s a good idea to try relaxation techniques before bed, so you can try and reduce your stress before settling in. If you usually have racing thoughts and stress about the next day, try keeping a journal or diary to write your thoughts out and get them on paper. This can sometimes help clear the mind and help you sleep throughout the night.
We talked about your mattress and your bedding, but the rest of your bedroom environment should be suited for sleep as well. There are ideal conditions for sleep that include light levels, noise levels, and temperature. Fine-tuning your sleep environment can ensure you’re not disturbed during the night.
Make sure your room is dark, make sure there are no loud noises, and make sure you have the temperature set between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live somewhere with noise, try something like a white noise machine or earplugs to block out noise. If you have a lot of windows, try blackout curtains to block out light. Humidity can play a factor as well, getting a humidifier or dehumidifier can help you keep your bedroom in the right conditions no matter what the weather is like.
Your electronics can sometimes wake you up in the middle of the night. Once you put your phone down for the night, try putting it in do not disturb mode so it doesn’t wake you up with notifications or the light turning on.
If you’re dealing with one or more of these triggers, managing them could make a huge difference in your sleep quality.
If you have trouble sleeping, you’re not the only one. According to the CDC, over 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. There is also a chance that you can develop worse sleep habits as you age. Older adults especially run into issues, as they can develop sleep concerns due to factors like illness, physical conditions preventing them from getting enough exercise, medications they make take, less exposure to sunlight, and major lifestyle changes.
The good news is, with this many people having sleep concerns, there are a lot of resources and knowledge that can guide you to improved sleep. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can stop yourself from waking up in the middle of the night.
Another common problem people who wake in the middle of the night have is falling back asleep. Waking up frequently is bad enough, but if you stay awake for lengthy periods of time afterward, it can really make the next day difficult. If you find yourself having trouble falling back asleep, try getting up out of bed for a little while.
Lying in bed tossing and turning can just stress you out more and keep you up longer. Instead, you should go do something relaxing for a little while to start getting sleepy again.
You could do some light stretching, read a book, or even sip on some herbal tea. Of course, if waking up for the bathroom is a frequent cause of your waking, that last one should probably be skipped.
Once you start to feel a little tired, you can head back to bed and falling back asleep should be more manageable.
If you are frequently waking up in the middle of the night, there are some habits you can start to implement to help you with the number of disturbances you experience overnight. Some of these might be a recap, but let’s list them out so you have an easy list to refer back to when needed.
Here are the things you should do to make staying asleep easier:
An old mattress or one that is sagging or damaged, can generate enough discomfort to interrupt your sleep. If you think your mattress is keeping you up at night, it’s time to consider replacing it. Before making a purchase, do your research and determine the best type of mattress (innerspring, foam or a hybrid) that best suits your primary sleep position. This will help to ensure the most comfortable match.
Once bedtime is approaching, dim the lights in your house or switch from overhead lights to some softer lamps. Doing this about an hour before bed can prime your body and mind for sleep. Similarly, you should dim the lights on any devices you plan on using before bed. Most electronics have a night mode that switches the blue light on your phone or tablet off. Switching to this mode can reduce strain on your eyes and make it easier to drift into a restful sleep.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your home at your desired temperature during the day, but when it’s time for bed, make sure to give your body the temperature it wants for sleep. It may be cooler than you’re used to, but you can always get under some blankets. The overall cooler temps will help keep you in a deep sleep, so you don’t wake up feeling hot and uncomfortable.
If you wake up at irregular times, you can confuse your body’s sleep-wake cycle. This might make you wake up in the middle of the night or wake up too early. Waking up at the same time every day will create a sleep routine and train your body to sleep until that hour.
Everyone’s sleep needs are slightly different. Some people can get away with 6 hours every night while some people might need as many as 9 hours. Once you know how many hours refresh you, you should stick to a schedule that allows you to get that much sleep. This way, even if you wake during the night, you’ll be giving yourself enough time to get close to your optimal sleep.
These are some things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene and stop waking up in the middle of the night. Now let’s talk about some things you shouldn’t do.
These are the habits you should try to break if you want to make it easier to sleep through the night:
If you’re trying to pin down exactly when you should stop drinking your coffee or tea for the day, a general rule of thumb is 8 hours before bed. It usually takes the body 7 hours to process caffeine and then you can give yourself an extra hour as a buffer. If your tolerance for caffeine is really high, you can adjust this as necessary. But when you’re trying to fix sleep problems, it’s best to stop consumption earlier to test if caffeine is a primary trigger for you.
This is another metric you can adjust as you learn your sleep triggers. But when you’re first trying to establish new sleep hygiene habits, try having your last drink 4 hours before bedtime. This ensures you won’t wake up from its effects and you have time to go to the bathroom and get it out of your system before turning in for the night.
Finally, we have the last drink you should restrict. Obviously, you should always prioritize your water consumption and make sure you’re properly hydrated, but if it’s causing you to wake up often you may need to try timing your water intake. If possible, don’t drink water an hour before bed. Also, try to use the restroom right before bed to prevent that trigger from waking you up.
With these do’s and don’ts in mind, you can start your journey to a more restful nights’ sleep.
Forming new habits and sticking to them can be difficult. That’s why Sleep Reset is here to help. With Sleep Reset’s program, we find the sleep concerns that are keeping you up at night and design a personalized plan to address those problems. A dedicated sleep coach will be assigned to help you on your journey to improving your sleep and your health.
Choose Sleep Reset if you’re ready to get deep sleep, boost your mood, increase your energy, and wake up feeling refreshed. Our program is focused on building good habits, so there are no sleeping pills or supplements to make you feel groggy in the morning. We’ll work with you to retrain your sleep for the long term. To get started, just take our sleep assessment today!