We’ve all been there: one minute you’re having the greatest night sleep of your life, the next you’re waking up, uncomfortable, and can’t get back to bed.
Everyone requires a good night’s sleep to function properly the next day. Some people manage to function on only a few hours of sleep, where others may need a full 8 to 9 hours. The requirement for a good night’s rest for a human adult averages at around 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
This list doesn’t include sleep loss as the result of being a new parent, or the natural course of aging, where loss of sleep is to be expected. The following 8 explanations may be the reason as to why you’re waking up in the middle of the night.
1) Temperature Problems: According to sleep.org the optimal room temperature for the human body during sleep should be between 60 to 67 degrees F (or 15 to 19 C). One reason you might be waking up in the middle of the night is that your body is too hot or too cold. Frigid temperatures cause your muscles to stiffen up and sometimes this could be painful. Warm temperatures can cause excessive sweating and hot flashes.
2) Nocturia: Not to be confused with the band Noctura, “Nocturia” is the condition described by the International Continence Society, as the complaint of frequent nighttime urination. Two causes for this may be due to hormone imbalance or bladder problems. The most frequent cause, however, is having too much to drink before going to sleep. Try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of liquid in the hours leading up to sleep.
3) Noise Pollution: Noise pollution can come from any number of sources. A spouse’s snoring may be the most obvious, but other sources of noise pollution could include sirens, loud neighbors, old pipes, or even the motor on your kitchen refrigerator. To reduce noise pollution the first solution is to buy yourself a good pair of earplugs. You could also try noise-cancelling white noise devices, including a fan.
4) Consumption of Alcohol: It’s an old wives tale that an alcoholic beverage before bed can help you sleep, yet modern science has proven this to be the opposite of the truth. Drinking can help you fall into a deep sleep relatively quickly but as your body processes the booze in your bloodstream, you’re giving your body extra work to do. Your sleep will be less restful and cause you to stir.
5) Sleep Apnea: This is a common problem with males, especially ones over 50, however, sleep apnea can affect anyone with an obstructed airflow. Your body wakes you up as a survival mechanism when your snoring or obstructed breathing paths do not provide you with enough oxygen. On some rare occasions, sleep apnea can lead to death. An overnight trip to a sleep-clinic usually helps with the diagnosis. Treatment can include the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, weight loss, quitting smoking, or in some rare cases, surgery to the nasal pathway.
6) Depression or Anxiety: An overactive mind (especially caused by anxiety or depression) is usually to blame when you wake in the middle of the night. Nightmares or panic attacks can wake you up, as can worry. These feelings cause you to stay awake as your mind panics and focuses on your lack of sleep. If you are losing sleep because of Anxiety or Depression, always seek the help of a professional. Cognitive-behavior therapy, medication or relaxation techniques can be used for treatment.
7) Restless Legs Syndrome: RLS is a syndrome that can result in unpleasant sensations in your feet and legs. These symptoms include the feeling of bugs crawling on your legs, aching, or throbbing of your muscles. Some can experience similar symptoms in other parts of their body. Massage, exercise, warm baths, and temperature solutions may help. For more severe cases a medical professional can provide additional measures.
8) Heartburn: Last night’s all-you-can-eat Tex Mex cuisine may have been enjoyable at the time, but now you’re suffering from acid reflux. In more severe cases you may be diagnosed with (GERD) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which is a very common condition in adults. To avoid this problem avoid heavy meals before bed, avoid acidic drinks like soda, coffee, or orange juice, and avoid alcohol.