The seven reasons why you keep waking up in the middle of the night and the impact it’s having on your overall health.
Waking up in the middle of the night is not only annoying and means you’re tired the next day, and it can also have a huge effect on your physical and mental health.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, one third of Australians regularly suffer from inadequate amounts of sleep and this has a significant impact on your mood, productivity and overall well-being.
Experts from Bed Threads recently revealed the seven reasons why you keep waking up in the middle of the night – and what this means.
1. Room temperature
The first thing that’s standing between you and a good night’s sleep is the temperature of your room.
Bed Threads expert Rory said you’ll get a ‘better night’s rest’ when your body is cool and your bedroom is at a lower temperature.
Your body heat peaks in the evening and then drops to its lowest levels when you’re asleep, so a cool 16-18 degrees Celsius is thought to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom.
Anything over 24 degrees Celsius is likely to be too warm and therefore will create restlessness, while anything less than 12 will mean you’re too cold to sleep.
2. Too many drinks
You might drift off easily after a couple of glasses of wine, but if you’ve ever looked at the quality of your shut-eye after you fall asleep after drinking, you’ll see just how compromised it really is.
‘Drinking before bed can mean that you are asleep in stage one for longer, where you are more likely to wake up from environmental factors,’ Rory said.
Try to limit this style of sleep as often as possible for good, interrupted deep sleep.
3. Stressful thoughts
We’ve all heard the saying that you shouldn’t bring the office home with you, and never is this more true than with your sleep.
If you’re feeling anxious or having stressful thoughts, it can be tricky to turn them off when you want to go to sleep – and this can mean bad shut-eye for weeks on end.
If you think you’re regularly struggling with anxiety, the experts recommend you consult your GP as soon as possible.
4. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder that slows or stops your breathing when you’re asleep and causes the oxygen levels in your body to drop.
‘You’re then jolted awake to catch your breath, which naturally comes as a bit of a shock to the system after enjoying a peaceful rest beforehand,’ Rory said.
If you think you struggle with this, again consult your GP who might be able to help with the problem and then get on some form of treatment.
Try to limit eating before bed, and restrict it to two hours before you intend to turn out the light.
The experts all agree that eating too much food before you go to sleep can cause you to feel both full and uncomfortable – and this means you will likely struggle to get to sleep or will keep waking up in the middle of the night.
Try eating by the inverted pyramid rule – and make breakfast your biggest meal of the day before getting progressively smaller until dinnertime.
Your weight will also benefit from eating in this way.
6. Too much light
You might be eating and drinking all the right things and exercising in the correct way.
But if your bedroom is too light and bright, then you’ve got no hope of getting eight hours of sleep.
‘Keeping a bedroom as dark as possible is the way to go to ensure you send a signal to your body that it’s time for rest,’ Rory said.
If there are any gaps or chinks of light that are getting in through either the windows or underneath the door, then either invest in a sleep mask or block them out.
This will mean you don’t wake up before you body is ready to wake up.
7. Electronic distractions
Last but not least, we have all heard about the detrimental effect of electronic distractions.
But phones and iPads in the bedroom are not just distracting, but damaging to our valuable sleep.
Try to charge your devices elsewhere and get into the habit of adopting a restful night-time ritual that’s free from screens for at least one hour before sleep.