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6 reasons why you keep waking up in the middle of the night and how to sleep better

Published on:14 December 2020, 16:33pm IST
If your sleep cycle is disturbed, it can eventually affect your physical and mental health. Here are some factors that can cause disturbed sleep.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Waking up in the middle of the night isn’t normal. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Do you end up waking up with a headache or feeling like you’re not well-rested in spite of sleeping for 7 to 8 hours? It’s probably because you’ve woken up multiple times in the middle of the night.

You aren’t alone in feeling this way because it is a common lifestyle problem for many. A study conducted by the journal Sleep Medicine with over 8,000 participants noted that almost 40 per cent of the people woke up in the middle of the night. The thing is that you need to fix this issue before it starts taking a toll on your health.

To fix your sleep cycle, you need to figure out exactly what could be causing disturbed sleep. For this, we talked to Dr Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.

Here are 6 prime reasons you end up waking up in the middle of the night:
1. Bedroom atmosphere

According to Dr Sonal, too many temperature variations during the night can disturb sleep. Moreover, extreme temperatures can also make it tough to catch on some comfortable sleep.
“Other factors in your immediate surrounding that can disturb your sleep include uncomfortable bedding, sudden loud noises, bright lights and mosquitoes or bed bugs. You can use eye wraps and earplugs for a peaceful sleep,” suggested Dr Anand.

2. Poor sleep hygiene

For a good night’s sleep, you need to maintain good sleep hygiene. As you age, you require less sleep. Older adults need about 7 hours of sleep. If you sleep in the afternoon, it is quite possible that you might end up waking up during the night. Lying in bed for a long time without sleep impairs quality and quantity of sleep.

Working late till late in the night and rotating shifts can alter sleep patterns, disrupting sleep on the weekends and also on normal working days.

“Having too much tea, coffee and water in the evening can cause the bladder to become full late in the night and lead to multiple bathroom visits,” suggested Dr Anand.

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3. Medical conditions

It is most common amongst older adults but can affect people of all age groups. “There are many medical conditions that might cause one to wake up in the middle of the night. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is one of the most common conditions that can lead to disturbed sleep. Other conditions include underlying cardiac or pulmonary problems, neurological issues like Alzheimer’s, restless leg syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pain, and diabetes. Some medications can also lead to disturbed sleep,” explained Dr Anand.

4. Psychological causes

Stress is known to cause insomnia. Anxiety and tension in the body and mind might disturb the sleep cycle. Terminal insomnia is often seen in patients who have depression. In fact, insomnia can precede depressive episodes in some cases. Post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with nightmares and frequently waking up during the night.

5. Alcohol and nicotine consumption

“Alcohol can help with sleeping but can also lead to waking up too quickly. In the long run, alcohol depresses the brain and gives rise to sleeping problems. Smoking also disturbs sleep. Many smokers wake up soon after sleeping due to their body craving for nicotine,” she explained.

6. Using your phone before going to bed

Most of us end up using our phones or laptops right before going to sleep. This is not just wrecking our physical well-being but our mental health as well.

According to a study, people who use their smartphone right before they are off to sleep develop insomnia or deal with sleep deprivation. Moreover, this problem doesn’t just lead to mental fatigue but it also diminishes focus and productivity.

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Here are 6 things you can do to induce deep sleep:

1. Don’t keep your phone anywhere near yourself. If possible, put it on sleep mode.

2. Drink a cup of chamomile tea an hour before you sleep.

3. Listen to soft music before going to bed.

4. Have a hot water shower.

5. You can practice basic yoga poses that can help in inducing sleep.

6. Eat light food but don’t starve yourself. In addition, don’t drink too much water right before you sleep.

Ladies, it’s time to fix your sleep cycle to ensure you always stay healthy!

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.