How to Cut Down on Night Waking

For some, sleeping through the night feels like a distant dream. Learn how to increase your odds of disturbance-free sleep tonight.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Many people have no trouble sleeping through the night. For people who suffer from nighttime waking, the consequences extend far beyond a momentary annoyance. Falling asleep can be hard enough, but staying asleep is a whole other issue. Lost sleep equals morning grogginess and low energy throughout the next day..

There are a number of reasons people tend to wake up at night, including underlying health conditions and poor sleep habits. In severe cases, a medical professional can help. For others, a few small tweaks in your bedtime routine may provide the relief you need to sleep more soundly. Learn how to cut down on night waking and get a better night’s sleep with these useful tips.

Dim the Lights
The right sleep environment can reduce the chances of waking up at night. Keep your room dark, as artificial light sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up. This means you should avoid watching TV or looking at your phone in bed or if you wake during the night as well, since the blue light can mess with your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Lower the Thermostat
Pay attention to your bedroom temperature. The ideal range for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping your room on the cooler side can help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Conversely, a warm room could cause you to wake up sweating during the night.

Follow a Sleep Routine
Training your body to sleep through the night is easier if you stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same hour every day can help set your body’s clock. Focus on getting 7 to 9 hours total, regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

Eat Smartly for Sleep
Certain foods and drinks consumed too closely to bedtime can cause night waking. Drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evenings and alcohol before bed, as well as eating large meals close to bedtime can increase the odds that your sleep will be interrupted.

Treat Underlying Issues
A number of medical conditions can contribute to night waking. Issues like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can all cause disturbances at night. Some medications can cause night waking as well, such as beta-blockers used for high blood pressure, cholesterol-lowering drugs, ADHD medications, and cough medications. If you are concerned that your medications may be disrupting your sleep, speak with your doctor to find the best course of treatment.