If there is one thing about sleep that can be incredibly annoying, it is waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to drift off into a peaceful slumber again. Experiencing this once or twice a month is bad enough, but what can you do about it if you are experiencing it night after night? Could it be time to look at new beds or is it something you are doing during the night that is preventing you from your much-needed sleep?
You know you need good sleep, but what happens when you have to deal with the frustration and stress caused by restless sleep?
It’s not healthy to not sleep well. There are many disadvantages that bad sleep can have on your health and on your mood. And if it is not insomnia that is keeping you awake, it could be a case of suddenly waking during the night and being unable to get back to sleep, which in some ways is worse than no sleep at all. As you get older, sleeping straight through and waking up refreshed can be even more elusive as health issues can contribute to waking you up, so knowing how to deal with these problems can become even more important than you think.
In the short term, not a lot of damage can be done when you are experiencing restless sleep for a few nights, but there is absolutely no doubt that you are going to be left frustrated, tired and irritable when you feel as though you are waking up every hour. In the long term, your health can be impacted as recent research says that restless sleep is as bad as having no sleep at all.
Just one night of bad sleep can result in you feeling very tired the following morning. While your overall health might not be affected right away, your mental health can take a knock after even one night of bad sleep. If a pattern is starting to emerge as night after night turns into week after week of interrupted sleep, you are going to need to look at what you can do to correct this habit.
Instead of telling you what you should do, we’re going to tell you what you should avoid doing should you find yourself waking up at night.
- Don’t lie there
If you wake up in the night, and you know you need to be up early the following morning, staying in bed can be a bad idea. Feeling frustrated because you can’t go back to sleep while in bed, can actually make getting back to sleep that much harder. Get out of bed, take a slow walk, read a book or try meditation, do something relaxing but don’t lie in bed and stress yourself. Once you feel sleepy again, then get back under the covers. It’s good to mention that you should only get out of bed if you have been lying there unable to sleep for a good while, not if you have just woken up.
- Don’t smoke at night
Nicotine is a stimulant and if you are having that last smoke late at night, you might have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. If you wake up in the night, do not light up and go over all the problems you have to face in the morning. The stimulation will make it just about impossible to get back to sleep. Have your last cigarette in the afternoon and even though it might be difficult, try not to smoke again until the following morning.
- Don’t check your phone or turn on your TV/computer
Getting back to sleep can be so much harder if you are fully waking your brain. Blue light, which mimics sunlight, can be the worst thing you can expose your brain too when you have woken up and find you are struggling to fall back asleep. Checking your phone is enough to disrupt the melatonin levels in your brain and make you more alert than you should be at the hour you are waking. Technology is actually to blame for a lot of the sleep troubles that we have these days. By the way, should you be unable to resist checking your phone and you see the time, you might start stressing about how little sleep you are getting. Research has shown that people who see the time when unable to sleep, actually make things so much more difficult for themselves.
- Try to not go to the bathroom
Unless it is absolutely necessary, try not to get up. This might sound as though it contradicts point number 1, however that point is only for those who are not drifting off within say an hour.
When you sit up and get out of bed during the night, you are increasing your heart rate which is not such a good idea when you consider that your heart needs to be beating at a steady, calm pace to aid sleep. Once you are out of bed, your heart rate increases and you might find it even more difficult to fall back asleep.
- Don’t snack
If you are eating at the right time in the evening, you shouldn’t feel hungry during the night. As tempting as it might be to have a late night snack when you are having trouble sleeping, it’s best to not do anything of the kind. Research has proven that late night eating contributes to weight gain while the digestion of the food might actually make it more difficult for you to fall back asleep. Your body might also develop a nasty routine of waking in the night just to eat.
Occasionally having trouble getting back to sleep in the night doesn’t have to become a sleep disorder if you are treating it properly when it does happen. The best thing to do is to not worry about it. Your sleep is going to sort itself out so you don’t necessarily have to sleep late the next day or play catch up with your sleep by napping.
There could be a myriad of reasons why you find yourself staring at the ceiling, watching the shadows, at 3 am every other morning. And in short, it is perhaps best to try to figure out what is waking you up instead of filling yourself with more worry or convince yourself that you have a sleep disorder. Sometimes the smallest changes, such as buying a new bed, can make the biggest difference when it comes to your sleep. New beds for sale from The Mattress Warehouse can give your body that extra bit of comfort it is craving.