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Keep waking up at night? 10 possible reasons why

Waking up at night

Constantly waking up at night isn’t healthy. It doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you’re getting; if your sleep is heavily interrupted, you’re not getting good quality sleep.

Most people wake up two to three times at night. If you wake up more frequently or take ages to get back to sleep, its worth considering why. Below are ten possible reasons why you may be waking up so often.

1. You’re too hot or cold

A common reason for a restless night is being too hot or cold. If you wake up shivering or sweating, consider whether it’s time to switch your bedding to something more insulating or breathable. Check out this seasonal guide to bedding for more advice.

2. Waking up at night because of noise

Are you being kept awake by things that go bump in the night? If you live in a noisy area, consider using earplugs.

Investing in sound insulation for your bedroom is another option. Some people even find that white noise helps drown out sounds, although others may find the sound keeps them awake.

3. Too much outside light

Most folks need a dark environment to stay asleep. Car headlights or street lighting could be keeping you awake at night. If so, blackout blinds and curtains are a potential solution.

4. You’re not in a comfortable position

Are you waking up with cramps or aches? It could be worth changing your sleeping position. Using pillows to support certain parts of your body could help.

Don’t also forget to consider whether you need a new mattress. It might be time to replace a lumpy or sagging bed.

5. Too much food (or not enough) before going to bed

Try not to go to bed straight after a heavy meal as doing so can cause indigestion and acid reflux that disturbs sleep. Similarly, you don’t want to wake up hungry at midnight because you didn’t eat dinner.

Preventing these issues can be as simple as eating dinner about three hours before bed. You can eat a small snack an hour before bed if you start getting hungry again.

6. You’ve been drinking alcohol

Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle by making you thirsty and preventing deep slumber. You may also make more trips to the bathroom. If you drink alcohol each night, consider abstaining for a few days to see if it makes a difference to your sleep quality.

7. A medical condition is causing you to need the toilet

If you find yourself constantly getting up to go to the toilet, consider whether a medical condition could be the cause. Frequent urination is a possible sign of diabetes, for example.

It could also be a sign of kidney disease, which may require kidney disease management. If you experience pain while urinating and a frequent need to go, it could be due to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

8. Sleep apnea keeps waking you up at night

Do you occasionally wake up feeling breathless? Sleep apnea affects many people who don’t even realize they have this condition.

It causes breathing to stop and start while sleeping and can be potentially fatal. So, it is worth looking into sleep apnea if you think you may have it.

That could be why you keep waking up. If so, your doctor might recommend using a CPAP machine.

9. Restless leg syndrome

Do you have a constant need to move your legs while in bed? If so, it could be a sign of restless leg syndrome.

This can keep many people up at night. Read more about restless leg syndrome, and consider seeing your doctor if you think you have it.

10. Waking up at night with anxiety

Anxious thoughts can prevent you from getting to sleep and disturb your sleep quality. How? By causing nightmares and pumping your body with cortisol, making you more alert.

It could be that you have health anxiety, for example, and it triggers hypochondria. If that’s the case, learning ways to relax that work well for you is essential to getting rest. Avoid online searches before going to bed and consider reaching out to a professional for therapy to find other coping mechanisms and strategies.

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? What is keeping you up in the evenings?

22 thoughts on “Keep waking up at night? 10 possible reasons why”

  1. I sleep walk eat condiments. It’s crazy. I can’t have little jars or tins of anything in the fridge.
    Out of caution, I have NOTHING in little jars or cans: includes cleaning products, polishes, etc.
    It is so weird to wake up in the morning and find a jar of mustard scraped clean, with a licked clean spoon inside.
    Peanut butter is another one. xo

  2. Hi. Dogs bark in my neighborhood as early as 5:15 AM. Their owners are to blame. My wife and I have a fan on a timer in our bedroom. It comes on at about 5:00. Its noise helps to block out the dogs’ noise.

    1. Can you say HOT FLASHES boys and girls? LOL 😝🥵🤪 Christy, my husband sleeps with a quilt over him while I am on top of the covers! Guuurrrrllllllll 😂😆🤣 and with the hot summer nights on top of that….disco inferno ladybug! 🔥🔥🔥 Whew!

    2. Thanks Christy. I have to keep some sense of humor so I won’t be going crazy like the Tasmanian Devil. 🌪🌀😲 UGH!!! The HEAT is on (channeling my inner Glenn Frey)! 😎 Ciao!

  3. petespringerauthor

    As an established fussy sleeper, you’ve hit my biggest distractions. My wife is the opposite and can go to sleep anywhere in a matter of a few minutes. When I was working, I know anxiety was an issue because I was worrying about kids I taught. I like it dark, noiseless, and cool. (told you I was fussy) What works best for me is to read until my eyes get heavy, whatever time that may be.

    1. Hi Pete, I’ve started reading before bed too. There’s something about the ritual of it that is comforting. I’m glad you’ve found what works well for you when it comes to sleep. My husband is similar to your wife – He can literally sleep anywhere!

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