It’s the middle of the night. Your room is pitch black, and you’re tucked comfortably into bed. But without fail, you’re suddenly awake and your mind is active, just like almost every other night.
Does that sound familiar?
Waking up in the middle of the night when you should otherwise be sleeping is more common than you think. Plenty of other adults have the same problem. And while occasionally waking in the middle of the night is no big deal, doing it consistently can mess up your sleep cycles and have serious consequences on your mood and productivity during the day.
If you find yourself waking up around the same exact time almost every night, it’s time to figure out the cause.
An underlying health issue may be causing you to wake up each night. Sleep-related disturbances, such as sleep apnea, can lead to plenty of other health problems, so it’s important to get conditions like this ruled out by a doctor.
Worrying and hyper-vigilance could be waking you up in the middle of the night.
When we go to bed stressed out, sometimes our brains will try to process our worries during certain stages of sleep. This can lead to us waking up consumed with worries. Try some stress-reduction techniques, or talk to your doctor if you think your anxiety might need more serious attention.
The anticipation of an event, like cries from your baby, or even just worrying if you’ll wake up in the middle of the night again can cause worse sleep.
Your room plays a lot into how deeply and how long you’ll sleep. Lights and noise at night could be causing an issue. Having screens in your room, like a TV that you watch before bed or sleeping with your phone next to you, can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest and cause you to wake up sooner.
Pay attention to the food and drink you consume before bed, too. Alcoholic beverages in particular will help you fall asleep at first, but they reduce REM sleep, causing you to wake you up throughout the night.