Insomnia is exhausting.
What makes it more difficult is that sleep problems affect people differently, so finding a solution can feel impossible.
One of the more common types of insomnia is an occasional difficulty falling asleep at night that leads to an abrupt waking up in the middle of the night, with little hope of resuming sleep.
According to the Mayo Clinic, occasional bouts of insomnia – described above – are very common. In fact, many adults will experience at least a short-term bout of insomnia (lasting a few days or weeks) during their lifetimes.
For others, insomnia is a chronic, long-term issue. Regardless, lack of restful sleep from insomnia can have numerous unpleasant side effects – daytime exhaustion, lack of energy, irritable mood, decreased work performance, and more.
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia has many causes. It can be the result of:
- Acute, short-term stress, or chronic long-term stress
- A travel or work schedule that disrupts your internal clock or regular sleep-wake rhythm
- Poor sleep hygiene
- Overeating food late in the evening (or having caffeine too late in the day)
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Medication side effects
- Changes in activity during the day (more or less exercise than usual)
- Changes in health (including chronic pain conditions)
Insomnia can also be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions, so if you are experiencing new or worsening insomnia, or insomnia lasting for a month or more, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Some medical conditions that can contribute to insomnia include anxiety, PTSD, depression, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, prostate or bladder problems (which lead to middle of the night wakings to urinate), chronic pain, diabetes, cancer, asthma, GERD, overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and more.
But regardless of the cause of your insomnia, there are strategies you can use to promote healthier, more restful sleep, and to stop waking up in the middle of the night. Here are some strategies to stop waking up in the middle of the night.
How to Stop Waking Up in the Middle of the Night
- Create a peaceful bedtime routine and stick to it. Take a warm bath or shower, brew a cup of caffeine-free tea, read a book or do a puzzle, and allow your body to start settling down.
- Try to limit screen time (TV, phones, tablets) in the hour before you go to sleep.
- Start doing gentle, relaxing meditation, progressive relaxation, or yoga poses before bed.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and limit yourself to one alcoholic drink a day (and try not to have alcohol in the last 2-3 hours before you go to sleep).
- Wake at the same time each day (even on the weekends).
- If you wake in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep after 20 minutes, go to another room and do a quiet activity like reading. This will allow your body to get tired again.
You can also support sleep with supplements, like the below formulas from NutriDyn, Diamond Formulations, and Pure Encapsulations.
GoodNight – NutriDyn
GoodNight from NutriDyn is a comprehensive blend of sleep-supporting vitamins, herbs, and amino acids that help promote decreased sleep onset and healthy sleep quality. This herbal remedy supplement uses sleep-supporting ingredients like vitamin B6, l-tryptophan, lemon balm extract, l-theanine, valerian extract, and melatonin to support decreased sleep onset time, free radical scavenging activity, and mood, and promote healthy sleep quality.
Sleep Balance Herbal – Diamond Formulations
Sleep Balance Herbal from Diamond Formulations is a sleep support supplement specifically formulated for those who experience occasional restless sleep. Along with vitamin B6, magnesium, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, and melatonin, Sleep Balance Herbal also contains a proprietary blend of GABA, l-tryptophan, German chamomile flower extract, and English lavender flower powder. These ingredients are known to encourage natural, restful sleep while discouraging disrupted sleep, supporting balanced mood, contributing to feelings of calmness and relaxation, aiding in sleep/wake cycle regulation, and helping to alleviate stress and anxiousness.
L-Tryptophan – Pure Encapsulations
L-Tryptophan from Pure Encapsulations supports healthy, restful sleep and overall emotional health and well-being. Pure Encapsulation’s L-Tryptophan supplement contains Tryptopure L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, a critical hormone our body produces and uses to stabilize mood, well-being, and feelings of happiness.
Studies have shown that l-tryptophan supported healthy emotional processing and promoted a positive outlook in women, supported a healthy mood, and occasionally lessened irritability during the menstrual cycle. Further research suggests that L-Tryptophan may promote relaxation and promote nutritional sleep quality, onset, and duration.
What do you do to fall back to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night?