Being able to sleep uninterrupted for a good 7-8 hours will help you wake up refreshed and allow your body to fully recover from the previous day.
Unfortunately, some people often wake up in the middle of the night and have their sleep disturbed.
We take a look at the most common reasons why people experience disturbances in their sleep and how they can address the problem.
One of the most common sleep disorders, sleep apnea, is a condition where you sometimes find yourself suddenly gasping for air during your sleep.
It may sound like a loud snore or can even sound like you're choking. The sudden starts and stops of breathing during your sleep can cause jolts that may wake you up in the middle of the night.
The loss of breathing is caused by your throat muscles relaxing and inhibiting normal respiratory function, which may cause health issues.
If you're showing signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, it's best to visit your doctor to be correctly diagnosed with the sleep disorder.
Sleep specialists may prescribe the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which allows your airways to remain open as you sleep.
Poor Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is all about creating healthy habits that allow us to fall asleep better and stay asleep throughout the night.
If you have poor sleep hygiene, you probably have bad habits such as staying up late, drinking caffeinated beverages before sleep or trying to sleep in an environment not conducive for sleeping.
Creating a consistent bedtime routine by sleeping and waking up the same time of day every day allows you to get a decent amount of sleep. This can also help train your body to remain asleep through the night.
Your sleeping conditions and environment are super important. Sleeping in a dark, quiet and cool environment can reduce any interruptions to sleep.
Keeping all lights, even electronics, turned off inside your room enhances melatonin production, particularly by avoiding the blue light emitted from phones and other devices.
Making sure that your room is quiet also reduces the chances of you waking up in the middle of the night because of loud noises.
Likewise, ensuring that your room's temperature isn't too high allows your body to get into deep sleep, which in turn leads to better sleep quality and avoiding night sweats.
Some of these may be out of your control, so you can also wear an eye mask or earplugs while you sleep to avoid being awoken.
You have a full bladder
We've all experienced having to wake up in the middle of our sleep to run to the loo. It’s not fun and honestly, it can easily be avoided.
Hydration is essential, but we should limit the volume of fluids that we intake before bedtime as this can cause our sleep to be interrupted.
In some cases where even if you reduce your fluid intake and you still wake up needing to go to the bathroom, you might have nocturia.
Nocturia is a condition often associated with an overactive bladder. This can be caused by urinary tract infections, diabetes and other health issues.
If nocturia is a persistent issue that occurs, pay a visit to your doctor to seek medical advice and necessary treatments.
Your mental health
Different mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can cause struggles with sleep or insomnia - the difficulty of falling asleep, staying asleep, and going back to sleep once awake.
People living with mental health issues may struggle to “switch off” and keep overthinking and stressing at night, keeping them awake.
Conversely, having insomnia can also cause problems to your mental health, which is why seeking professional advice for these issues is vital.
Visiting a therapist can help you with your sleep issues, may it be through medication for sleep assistance, or a therapeutic approach to your anxiety or depression.
Your therapist may also advise you to practice relaxation techniques and meditation to help get into a calm state that can aid with sleep.
You had alcohol
While drinking alcohol before bed can be fun and might quickly put you to sleep, the quality of sleep you will get is much worse compared to when you don’t drink.
Being inebriated stops your body going through the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase. This can lead to a restless sleep where you might wake up throughout the night.
If you feel like a drink, have it earlier in the evening and give yourself enough time to rehydrate before bed. By doing this, the alcohol metabolises while you’re awake and will not disturb your good night's rest.
You are struggling with acid reflux
Acid reflux is a condition where acids from your stomach back up into your esophagus due to a sensitivity to acidic food. This can include some fruits, fried food, spicy food, and even alcohol.
The constant backing up of acids can cause you to feel heartburn, which can disrupt sleep. Likewise, the muscular reflex from your esophagus can jolt you into waking up.
It has been clinically proven that people with acid reflux are likely to experience sleep problems and interrupted sleep.
The good thing about acid reflux is that it is easily addressed. Just by making some lifestyle and dietary changes, your condition can significantly improve.
Your doctor may also prescribe the use of antacids to help alleviate your problem. A non-medical approach that you can also practice is to make it a habit to sleep on your left side, as this makes it more difficult for your stomach acids to back up.
Physical sleep disturbance
One last common cause of sleep disturbance is completely out of our control - it could be your partner!
Sleeping beside a partner who moves around too much while in bed can cause you to wake up often in the middle of the night.
Consider investing in a mattress with zero motion transfer, meaning you won’t be able to feel any movement throughout the night.
The Ecosa Mattress does this job effectively with its ergonomic support foam designed with your best, undisturbed sleep in mind.