What To Do When You Wake Up at Night

Waking up in the middle of the night can cause you to be groggy the next day. Many people wake up and toss and turn for hours. Laying awake staring at the clock as the hours tick by can be a huge nuisance. It can also interfere with your everyday health and well-being.

Get Out of Bed

There are several solutions to help you get back to sleep and prevent night time waking. Trying to force yourself to sleep may not help the situation. Instead of tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Read until you feel sleepy or drink a warm cup of herbal tea, such as chamomile. Avoid watching TV or looking at computer screens because they can stimulate you and prevent you from being able to fall asleep.


If you are waking because of stress get up and make to do lists so that you don’t have to think about your tasks while you are trying to sleep. You can also write in a journal if there is a specific problem plaguing you. To help eliminate stress at night, start a soothing bedtime routine that can include stretching, reading, or eating a light snack. A consistent routine will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.



Waking can also be a result of environmental disturbances. Your bedroom may not be providing the right atmosphere for you to stay asleep. Investing in curtains that block out light and using white noise or ear plugs to eliminate sounds, is beneficial in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep as dawn approaches. Also, make sure your room is the right temperature throughout the night  – not too hot or too cold.

Health Problems

If your waking occurs for long periods of time and over the course of more than three consecutive days, you may have a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea, which disrupts breathing during sleep, is a common problem among adults. It could be the cause of an underlying health condition which you should discuss with your doctor.

When to Get Help

Solving a night waking problem may be as simple adding an extra blanket to your bed or starting a night time routine. However, if the problem persists and is having a negative impact on your daily life, you should consult a doctor for help. At times even a counselor or psychologist can help, if your waking is related to a specific stressor or traumatic even. Don’t let wakefulness add to your stress. Try some new techniques for sleeping and get help when you need it.

Photo “Sad man holding pillow” courtesy of Vic.  

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