Fortune Well August 4, 2023
There was a time earlier on in the pandemic when I would wake up every morning between 3 and 4 o’clock. Sometimes I had to go to the bathroom or I had a genius idea for a new story. Other times it was for seemingly no reason at all.
Waking up in the middle night typically isn’t cause for concern. The average person wakes up several times throughout the night but often doesn’t notice because they’re able to fall back asleep quickly (and they’re awake only for a few seconds). However, frequent night awakenings could also be a sign of insomnia, which has been found in 40% of older adults. But before you self-diagnose, it could be helpful to take a look at why you’re waking up in the middle of the night.
As it turns out, there are multiple reasons why we randomly wake up in the middle of the night, including, but not limited to:
If you have a few more hours before your alarm is scheduled to go off, you can still salvage some of your sleep. Here’s how:
Checking the time (or notifications) can actually cause you to stay awake longer. “The light is disruptive and you may easily wind up checking content and before you know it, you have easily lost an hour (or more) of sleep,” says Cralle.
If you need to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try to avoid bright lighting as much as possible. However, if you find yourself making several trips throughout the night, you should consult your healthcare provider.
Anyone who has ever found themselves staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night knows purposely trying to fall asleep can often lead to the opposite happening. Instead of forcing sleep, experts recommend trying relaxation techniques instead, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and then releasing each muscle in your body.
If all fails after 20 minutes, get up and go to another room to read or listen to soft music. Whatever you do, just make sure not to stay in bed. “Doing this will lead your brain and body to associate your bed with wakefulness instead of with sleep,” Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., said in a blog post.
“It can be difficult leaving a warm, comfortable bed after waking up in the middle of the night. But think of this step as an investment in better sleep—if not tonight then tomorrow night and in the future.” Once you’re sufficiently sleepy, you can return to your bedroom.
While occasional 3 a.m. awakenings may be unavoidable, there are science-backed ways to ensure you set yourself up for success before bedtime. For adults under 65, it’s recommended you get seven to nine hours of sleep per night with the goal of going to sleep within two to three hours after sunset.
It’s essential to go to sleep before midnight, Allison Brager, Ph.D., a neurobiologist with expertise in sleep and circadian rhythms, previously told Fortune, as this “optimizes time spent in restorative non-REM sleep.” Other tips for getting a good night’s rest include:
Additionally, you can optimize your bedroom to include sleep masks and earplugs; blackout curtains; a noise machine and/or other sound-absorbing materials, such as carpet, area rugs, or wall hangings; and a comfortable sleep surface, such as mattress, pillows, and bedding, to help you fall asleep (and stay asleep) more easily.
But if nothing’s working and you still find yourself getting up at 4 a.m. more often than not, then you’ll want to check with your doctor to see if you have a sleep disorder.
“Quality sleep is the foundation on which optimal health is built. Even if nutrition and exercise are at their best, without proper sleep their benefits are greatly reduced,” Dr. Abhinav Singh, medical director, of Indiana Sleep Center, expert at SleepFoundation.org, and coauthor of Sleep to Heal: 7 Simple Steps to Better Sleep, previously told Fortune. “Sleep is important for metabolic health, immune health, muscle repair, optimal brain function, and mental health. Optimal sleep not only adds years to your life but life to your years.”
Stay up to date on the latest real estate trends.
February 25, 2024
Over the past few months, experts have revised their 2024 home price forecasts based on the latest data and market signals, and they’re even more confident prices will…
February 25, 2024
As the landscape of real estate development continues to evolve, industry leaders find themselves at the intersection of innovation, sustainability and technology.
February 25, 2024
There’s a lot of confusion in the market about what’s happening with day-to-day movement in mortgage rates right now, but here’s what you really need to know: compared…
February 24, 2024
This year more folks are prioritizing travel and newfangled experiences.
February 24, 2024
Buying your first home is a big, exciting step and a major milestone that has the power to improve your life.
February 23, 2024
What are the elements that make a next-level kitchen?
We Guide Homeowners through the complicated process of selling their home using our 4 Phase Selling Process and 3 Prong Marketing Strategy that alleviates their stress and moves them effortlessly to their next destination. Schedule a 15 Minute Complimentary Strategy Session Today