We’ve all heard about the importance of clocking seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Getting adequate slumber has been linked to dozens of benefits, including the preservation of mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety at every age. Yet, if you’re like many people, you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night on occasion.

When you find yourself rising from slumber on a regular basis, it’s categorized as insomnia. Although common, this issue usually points to a need for some type of change. Of course, you must first know what’s causing the pattern before you can address it. While there are many potential reasons for waking up from sleep unprovoked, here are a few common causes to explore.

Hormones

Hormonal changes can have a significant impact on sleep, especially for women during pregnancy and menopause. Changing levels of estrogen, in particular, can lead to sleep challenges such as waking up in the middle of the night. Maintaining a comfortable bedroom temperature (possibly on the cooler side), scheduling exercise earlier in the day, and drinking a soothing beverage before bed may help to facilitate uninterrupted sleep.

Of course, it’s also possible for hormone imbalances to trigger sleep problems even if you aren’t a pregnant or menopausal woman. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you suspect hormone issues could be the culprit for your periodic wake-ups.

Blood Sugar Changes

Eating foods with carbohydrates or sugars can boost your blood sugar. Eventually, the insulin in your body will remove the sugar from your blood and send it to your cells, resulting in declining blood sugar levels. While it’s likely you’ll feel sleepy at this time, the dip in blood sugar can actually trigger a stress response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline, which could actually stir you out of your slumber.

To combat these dips and spikes, try to steer clear of sugary or carb-rich foods at least two hours before going to sleep. Be sure to include protein with your meal, along with healthy fats and fiber. Avoid skipping meals during the day, too.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and sleep apnea can all cause sleep disturbances. Be sure you’re seeing your physician for regular checkups to maintain any existing conditions or to identify potential underlying causes of sleep problems. Additionally, mental health disorders such as general anxiety and depression may also lead to irregular sleep patterns. If you think your sleep issues are related to a mental health issue, seek help from a professional counselor.

Daytime Habits

Daily napping, drinking caffeine late in the day, and drinking more than one alcoholic beverage can all contribute to poor sleep. Additionally, waking up and going to bed at different times each day could make it difficult for your body to regulate its natural sleep clock. For this reason, you should try to maintain a consistent sleeping schedule, even on the weekends.

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