Waking up in the middle of the night is a common but frustrating problem that affects everyone at some point in their lives. Many people have poor sleep habits, often leading to multiple nighttime awakenings or the inability to fall asleep. Unfortunately, even with a great nighttime routine, you may still wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene and having a strategy for this situation can help you sleep longer and prevent a full-blown sleep disorder.
When to Get Out of Bed
Immediately after waking up at night, you can try to fall back to sleep for about 20 more minutes. As you lay in bed, try not to watch the clock or check to see how many more hours of sleep you can get. After 20 to 30 minutes max, you’re better off getting out of bed until you’re actually sleepy. Staying in bed when you’re not tired can make it even more challenging to sleep through the night and cause your brain to associate the bedroom with wakefulness rather than rest.
What to Do After You Get Up
After getting up, it’s best to leave your bedroom and try to do something that will make you feel relaxed and sleepy. You can read, listen to calming music, meditate, or even drink a soothing, non-caffeinated tea. Avoid any strenuous activity, like exercise, and resist the urge to make a midnight snack. Eating at night can cause indigestion and may make you feel bloated or nauseous the next day.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is also a bad idea, even though you might fall asleep faster after drinking alcohol. The problem is that drinking before bed often causes rebound insomnia or “early morning awakenings,” which only exacerbates sleep issues.
How Long to Stay Out of Bed
Ideally, you should stay out of your bedroom for at least 30 minutes – or until you start to feel sleepy again – if you wake up and aren’t able to go back to sleep. The reasoning behind this tip is that you’ll be more likely to fall asleep faster once you’re drowsy. Above all, don’t obsess over the time you spend out of bed or check your alarm clock, as both will only heighten your anxiety.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re experiencing several wake-ups per night, multiple nights per week, it could be a sign of a more severe sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Our team of specialists is committed to providing the very best sleep apnea supplies and treatment. If you’re having trouble sleeping, contact us today for a sleep study, by completing the form below and making your request in the message.