How well are you sleeping every night? Do you drift off to sleep easily but suddenly find yourself wide awake at 3 a.m.?
Mid-sleep disturbances aren’t something to be concerned about if they happen every now and again. But if you have been waking up like this almost every night for the past few months, you may be one of the 40 million Americans suffering from sleep maintenance insomnia. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Luckily we have a few sleeping tips to help you get a good night’s rest.
It Could be the Environment
The science of sleep isn’t easy to understand but sleep medicine physician, Rita Aouad, M.D., says that our body cycles through several different sleep stages.
The ease with which something can arouse you (also called the arousal threshold) depends on which stage of sleep you are in.
The initial stage is the lightest which means that you’re more likely to wake up due to noise, car headlights shining through the window and even the temperature of the room you’re sleeping in.
Sleeping in a dark, quiet and cool place is ideal for preventing any sleep disruptions, but if any of these factors aren’t in your control, simply use eye mask and ear plugs to block out any disturbances.
You have anxiety
You probably never thought of this but anxiety can be one of the biggest culprits behind sleep maintenance insomnia.
According to Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., a common symptom in people suffering from an anxiety disorder is sleeplessness or trouble staying asleep.
Anxiety can bring a sudden rush of adrenaline and fear during sleep, which can raise your heart beat and arouse you in the middle of the night like a bad dream. In extreme scenarios, people can even suffer from nocturnal panic attacks which can suddenly wake them from their slumber.
You Have to Pee
If you have a condition called nocturia where you need to wake up at least once during the night to go pee, this could be a reason why you’re getting poor sleep.
Nocturia is a pretty common condition that affects more than 23 per cent of women and 29 per cent of men in U.S. Some of the common causes of nocturia include drinking too much water before bedtime, urinary tract infection and type 1 or 2 diabetes.
Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
Love having a glass of wine or two before bed? You’re not alone. More than 50 per cent of the Americans depend on alcohol to drift off at night, but research shows that it can lead to fitful sleep.
Alcohol can increase your alertness even after you doze off, which means that you’re more likely to get startled over the slightest change in environmental factors during stage 1 of your sleep.
You Suffer From Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a scary disorder that can stop your breathing at night, causing you jolt awake in the middle of the night to catch a breath. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause the throat muscles to obstruct the airways which creates a deadly drop in oxygen levels.
Doctors recommend patients who suffer from this disorder to wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to keep the airways open during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can turn into a deadly condition, causing a sudden cardiac arrest in sleep.