You fall into bed exhausted each night and drift into a deep sleep, but a few hours later your eyes spring open again. Why is sleeping through the night so impossible for you, and what ramifications does it have for your health? Welcome to middle of the night insomnia, an often-misunderstood sleep condition that severely compromises your quality of rest.
It’s time to stop asking yourself "why do I keep waking up at night?" and finally find some answers. Below, we’ll talk about the facts behind middle insomnia to help you find a solution that will leave you sleeping through the night and well rested in the morning.
What is Middle of the Night Insomnia?
Middle insomnia (also known as intermittent insomnia) is a condition that affects one in three adults in the UK. This sleep problem is characterised as waking up in the middle of the night and having difficulty falling back asleep again. Sometimes people struggle to fall asleep the first time around, and other times the issue only comes up around 3am.
There are numerous causes of middle insomnia, and understanding what’s triggering yours will help you stop waking up at night.
Causes of middle of the night insomnia
Why are you waking up each night at 3 am? Scientists aren’t exactly sure. Some think that it has to do with your sleep cycle and that you enter a lighter stage of sleep at this time when disruptions are more likely to wake you up. Others speculate that the process is triggered by excess hormone levels that flood your system and disrupt its regular functioning.
It’s hard to pin down the primary causes of your middle insomnia, but the following health conditions can factor into it:
- Chronic pain/ illness
- Stress and anxiety
- Pregnancy (especially during the third trimester)
- Breathing difficulties (due to sleep apnea)
- Interrupting hunger or thirst
- Menopause/ prostate problems
- Sleeping on too small of a bed
- Sleeping with pets or a partner who moves around
- Acid reflux disease
- Heart disease
- Too much noise
- Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress
- Drinking alcohol before bed
- Need to use the bathroom
- Gastrointestinal issues
- An erratic sleep schedule
- Working the night shift
It typically seems that waking up in the middle of the night is more common for older people, likely because they are more sensitive to the symptoms of insomnia.
Health problems of middle of the night insomnia
It’s common to struggle with waking up at night, but how do you know if lack of sleep is starting to affect your health?
Too little sleep can lead to a myriad of health problems, including higher blood pressure, a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart conditions, worse balance and concentration, mood changes, a compromised immune system, weight gain, and even a lower sex drive. In fact, it’s hard to identify a part of your health that isn’t affected by sleep quality.
When should you get help for some expert advice for better sleep? According to many sleep health professionals, you need to follow the “rule of threes”. This means that you should seek professional care for your middle insomnia if the problem occurs three times or more a week, keeps you awake for at least thirty minutes a time and repeats itself for at least thirty days.
Natural treatment options for middle of the night insomnia
Here’s the good news. Middle insomnia is a treatable condition, and there are steps you can take to get your sleep levels back under control. This involves cleaning up your “sleep hygiene” by adding intentionality to your nighttime routine. Following these tips will help you fall asleep quickly and stay that way until morning.
- Stop watching the clock: Feeling anxious about the sleep you’re losing will only trigger the release of stress hormones like cortisol into your bloodstream. These chemicals have stimulating effects that will just work to keep you up when you’re trying to fall asleep.
- Avoid long naps: Sleeping during the day can rob nighttime sleep from you. If you must get some shuteye, stick to 20 minutes or less.
- Don’t fall into “Sleep Extension” beliefs: It’s easy to believe that spending more time in bed through an earlier bedtime or by sleeping in will counteract the effects of middle of the night insomnia. Instead, it’s just likely to cause you to repeat the behaviour the next day. A better option is to stick to your usual bedtime or even go to bed an hour later to ensure you’re tired.
- Limit alcohol consumption: While a nightcap might help you fall asleep faster, it compromises your sleep quality, reduces time spent in REM, and improves the likelihood that you’ll wake up once the sedative effects wear off.
- Keep your room dark and chilly: Few things are more miserable at night than waking up drenched in sweat, so keep your room slightly chilly, so you stay comfortable. If outside stimulation is keeping you awake, consider an eye mask, earplugs, and even a white noise machine.
Try Neuro Rest for fighting middle insomnia
If you’re looking for a better way to sleep through the night, then a middle of the night insomnia natural treatment option that truly works is Neuro Rest. This supplement is designed to help you sleep through the night, and survey results show it works. Three-quarters of past customers state that Neuro Rest helped them sleep longer at a time, thanks in part to the proprietary Melo-Fruit® blend cherry extract with natural melatonin to regulate your sleep cycles.
Other ingredients included to aid natural sleep include taurine (to calm your mind), magnesium (to help you relax), taurine (to reduce anxiety), and 5-HTP (to promote serotonin production). Taken together, these ingredients prime your body for better sleep, so that middle of the night insomnia is a distant dream. You don’t have to worry about building up a tolerance to its effects or any adverse symptoms, so try Neuro Rest today.
Remember, you have little to lose but your middle insomnia.
Visit the Utmost Me Sleep Blog for more articles on everything related to sleep; from bedtime routines to sleep nutrition.