Sleep is essential yet many people struggle to get the required amount. A disrupted sleeping pattern can play havoc to a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. One particular problem is waking up throughout the night. Why does this happen and what can be done to treat it?
Most of us will wake three to six times a night
As James Wilson aka The Sleep Geek, explained: “It is perfectly normal to wake up in the night and most of us will wake three to six times a night.
“Most of the time we don’t remember waking up and the times we do are when we need the toilet for example, or if we come out of sleep because of something else and then our brain kicks in.”
Interrupted sleep, however, which refers to sleep that is punctuated by prolonged periods of waking up throughout the night, usually at least four times over the course of eight hours, can have negative consequences on one’s overall health, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The health body explained: “Interrupted sleep can slow your reaction speed and make it harder to learn or remember things. It can also lead to a buildup of amyloid proteins in the body, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”
How to fix it
Wilson recommends the following four tips:
Listen to music
According to Wilson, if a person can’t get back to sleep within 30 minutes, this is a telltale sign that they need to get their minds off whatever it is they are thinking about.
If a person doesn’t distract their mind then their stress levels will rise and the urge to fall back to sleep will disappear, he said.
The solution? “Try listening to some music of less than 60 beats per minute, a podcast, spoken word book, or the radio to allow your mind to wander and for sleep to come to you again,” he said.
As Wilson explained, it only takes a temperature change of only 0.5 degrees celsius for a person’s body to start to wake up.
He said: “For hot sleepers, any of the materials we use in sleep products, for example foam in mattresses and feathers and down in duvets, helps make the immediate sleep environment (between the mattress and the duvet) too hot for sustained sleep.”
Wilson recommended opting for cooler sleeping materials, such as a sprung mattress and a duvet made of alpaca fleece, bamboo or wool.
If a person falls asleep easily, they can be fooled into thinking the caffeine they consumed earlier hasn’t had an impact on their ability to stay asleep, said Wilson.
He said: “We are all different when it comes to metabolising caffeine and it is worth working out at what time you can have your last caffeine.”
As a general rule, Wilson people in their 30’s have their last caffeine hit six hours before bedtime and 12 hours for people in their 60’s and above.
“The biggest mistake I find in those who wake in the night is not winding down properly,” said Wilson.
Sleep comes easily for sleep deprived people so there is often no active wind down, he said.
He added: “Try to create the drop in heart rate and the drop-in core temperature we need to go to sleep and stay asleep.”
Try taking this supplement before bed to get a good night’s sleep.
How much sleep should a person get a night?
According to the NHS, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.
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