Get up three to five times a night and can’t fall asleep quickly? Let’s find out what causes the problem and how to get back to a sound sleep.
All People Wake up Several Times a Night
Most people think of a good night’s sleep as a situation where they can fall asleep quickly and not wake up until the morning. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way.
Sleep is broken up into cycles of about an hour and a half. During this time, we go through all the stages of slow sleep and a period of fast sleep, and at the end of the cycle we wake up.
It turns out that an adult wakes up four to six times during the night. Someone who sleeps well just wakes up for a few tens of seconds and goes back to sleep without remembering these awakenings.
This mechanism was probably embedded in humans so that we could track the situation during the night. What if there is a fire or a predator approaches?
Also, short awakenings help us keep track of our body conditions: maybe we need to empty the bladder or turn around so that we don’t lie down.
The Main Reason for Long Awakenings Is Anxiety
External and internal factors can bring a person back to a conscious state: noise, bright light, thirst, need to go to the bathroom. After a person eliminates discomfort, he usually falls asleep quickly.
Problems begin if there is anxiety. It can be triggered by pressing concerns, for example, unfinished work reports. Anxiety may also arise due to the very fact of waking up: what if it’s impossible to sink back into sleep?
To change the habit, during the next awakening you should remind yourself that there is no point in getting up anymore, and continue lying in bed. Then nocturnal awakenings will stop on their own in two or three weeks.
If this method doesn’t help, use the following tips.
Eliminate the Cause of Your Discomfort
Insulate the room from unnecessary noise and light. If you’re already awake, don’t turn on bright lights or use devices with bright screens: smartphones, laptops or televisions. They disrupt circadian rhythms.
Ensure a comfortable temperature. If it’s cold at home, dress warmer. Cold and frozen feet can keep you awake, even if you really want to.
Uncomfortable pillows or mattresses can also keep you awake. If this is the reason, buy an anatomical mattress and pillow: they support the body in the right position during sleep.
Try an Anti-anxiety Writing Practice
If you can’t eliminate the cause of your anxiety, pour your anxiety out on paper a couple of hours before bedtime.
Anxiety can go away even if you just make a list of problems and plan out how and when you will start solving them. Then when you wake up, you just need to remind yourself that there is nothing to worry about: you have already solved everything and can think about it tomorrow.
Master the Relaxation Technique
It’s relaxation that helps the best to sink into sleep, so find a technique that works well for you.
It can be a simple meditation technique or diaphragmatic breathing, which involves breathing through your belly.
Another effective practice is Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation. It consists of gradually working through all the muscles of the body: first tensing them for 5-7 seconds, and then relaxing. You can move from top to bottom and repeat the cycle several times.
Don’t Change the Duration of Your Sleep
In order that the body doesn’t get used to frequently changing periods of sleep and wakefulness, don’t increase the total time you allocate to sleep. So you should try to avoid Bitcoin betting or Netflix watching at 2 a.m. to get healthier .
If you used to go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8 a.m., but with night wake-ups you go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 10 a.m., your body may think that you just chose to be extra awake in the middle of the night.
If you have already developed the habit, the body can be retrained back. Although it will make you sleep less for a while.
Consult a Somnologist
It isn’t always possible to solve the problem with single measures. In this case, cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia can help get rid of frequent night awakenings, as well as other symptoms of insomnia.
The effectiveness of this method is proven by scientific research. In the long term, it works better than sleeping pills and at the same time is not addictive and has no side effects.