Waking up in the middle of the night –
Waking up in the middle of the night is not abnormal – fact is, we all do, it is programmed into our DNA. It appears that cavemen often woke throughout the night to ensure there was no predator prowling around.
But it is equally important to return back to sleep, not lay there wide-eyed until dawn. If you often wake up in the middle of the night and it’s regularly disrupting your sleep, the following are the possible reasons.
1. You have an urge to pee
Just like a clockwork, you wake up every night at about same time with a need to urinate. This is absolutely normal, but waking up frequently the whole night can disrupt your sleep.
This condition is also known as nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, defined as the need to get up and take a pee at least once or twice a night.
The reason for this condition may be as simple as drinking too much water before bed or normal aging. It could also be an underlying condition which requires a trip to the doctor.
A possible condition may be sleep apnea. Nocturia is a very common condition among sleep apnea patients that it has become the basis of screening for sleep apnea, according to sleepapnea.org.
Sleep apnea is a disorder which occurs when upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, thereby resulting in a reduction or complete stop of air flow.
Fortunately, people who suffer from frequent nighttime urination due to their untreated sleep apnea get a reprieve, when they are treated with breathing devices (such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines).
If you are not suffering from sleep apnea, below are some natural remedies to try for nocturia
Drink less before bed
Always pee after sex (to prevent UTIs)
Include probiotics in your diet
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
Avoid excess alcohol at night
Eat a handful of raisins before bed
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
Enroll in yoga (multiple poses target the pelvic floor)
2. Your bedroom may be too hot or too cold disrupting your Circadian Rhythm
Yes, you read that right! Overheating or freezing during sleep can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is known as your sleep circle/wake cycle, it is a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between alertness and sleepiness at regular intervals, according to the National sleep foundation. And it is more efficient when you have regular sleeping habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time – even on weekends.
A functional sign of a whack in your circadian rhythm is when your body starts craving a mid-afternoon nap.
However, apart from staying up late and then sleeping in, your circadian rhythm can also be unsettled by repeatedly waking up during the night. And that would be a function of your environment being too hot or too cold.
According to Japanese research, ‘’ the thermal environment of your bedroom is one of the most important factors affecting your sleep’’
The temperature of your room has an effect on sleep stages which is strongly linked to thermoregulation, which impacts the mechanisms regulating sleep.
Sleep stage can also be different depending on clothing and bedding. For example, sleeping nude may expose you to more cold than heat.
But for those who sleep in clothes in a warm room, feeling too hot increases wakefulness and result in a decrease in slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep.
As a result, you can find yourself waking up in the middle of the night. Keep your room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit For optimal sleep. It Keeps your circadian rhythm stable.
3. Maybe your smartphone is the problem
If you have cultivated the habit of using your iPad or smartphone prior to bedtime (like so many of us are), then there could be a disruption in your quality of sleep as reported in a study from the University of California.
During this study, 653 participants were studied for three months, screen time prior to bed was analyzed.
The study revealed that exposure to smartphone screens prior to bed negatively impacted the quality of sleep.
The researchers found that the use of smartphone around bedtime was linked to longer time falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and having a poor quality sleep during the night. While relaxing with your smartphone before bedtime may seem like a good idea, you’re better off reading a book.
4. It could be that nightcap before bed
A nightcap before bed is slightly old-fashioned, yet many people believe it may be the key to better sleep. Well, not so fast. A study in the journal Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research revealed that alcohol before bed actually disrupts a restful night’s sleep.
The popular belief is that if you drink enough alcohol, it helps you sleep because of its sedative effect.
This may be true, that is, until your body has metabolized the alcohol. After which it prevents you from having a healthy sleep- induced rapid eye movement (REM), which is essential for restful sleep. This lack of REM sleep them makes the second part of your night restless and disturbed.
5. Maybe you’re just too stressed out
Stress is an inescapable part of human existence. It is essential to note that the key to handling stress is how you choose to manage it. When you are poorly managing it, it leads to waking up in the middle of the night, disrupting your sleep.
A study which looked into the relationship between disturbed sleep and stress published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research revealed that social stress, as well as work-related stress factors, are positively linked to impair awakening and disturbed sleep. So how can you improve your stress and therefore your sleep?
Set aside a minimum of an hour each day to unwind. This means doing absolutely nothing stimulating like texting. Rather, why not try a little mindfulness meditation before bed?
Mindfulness Meditation allows your thoughts to flow at will without any form of judgment. It is one of the best ways to relax and connect with yourself on a greater level, helping to break the vicious cycle of obsessive and negative thinking.
If you have tried the above-mentioned remedies and you still experience chronic sleep problems, take the short trip to the doctor. A test may be conducted to rule out sleep apnea or any other underlying condition.