THIS Is WHY You Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night
By Kat Gal
Confession time: I can never ever sleep through the night.
I can pretty much count on waking up between 2 and 3am.
I used to think that it was from drinking too much water too close to bedtime. I even tried to limit my water intake, but it didn’t help much – I was still popping my eyes open during the night at least for a few seconds, if not more.
I don’t stay up rolling around for hours sleeplessly, I just simply wake up, take a quick potty break and fall back asleep easily. And I feel rested in the morning.
Yet, I still thought something was wrong with me – until science came to my rescue.
If you also wake up in the middle of the night, you will be happy to know that it may be absolutely normal.
Waking up in the middle of the night is called ‘segmented sleep,’ a sleeping pattern humans used throughout history. In fact, people in the past used to go to sleep for about 4 hours, wake up, stay awake for 1-2 hours, then go back to sleep for another 4 hours naturally. Though I never stay awake for that long (more like 10-20 minutes at the most), I now know that a few hours wouldn’t be worrisome either.
But things changed over-time. Our lifestyle does not allow much time for ‘segmented sleep.’ We’ve become time-conscious and now aim to be efficient, even when it comes to sleep.
Some people have no problem sleeping a straight 8 hours, but many people do. According to Roger Ekirch, this is a result of the traditional form of “segmented sleep” that your genes still remember. “Segmented sleep” may in fact be the root cause of sleep disturbances and insomnia.
Gregg Jacobs explained that waking up during the night is a completely normal part of our human physiology. Unfortunately, it is not a part of our cultural norms. You can’t just tell your boss that you will be coming in two hours late, because your normal 8 hour sleep cycle is interrupted by 1-2 hours of wakefulness.
The majority of doctors are not aware of ‘segmented sleep’ and don’t recognize that sleeping 8 hours straight is simply not natural for some. Russell Foster, a professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford tells his patients that they are unable to fall back asleep because they panic about waking up, which is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern.
Waking up at night may be normal, but getting proper sleep is non-negotiable for your health. Did you know that over 30% of medical problems stem from the lack of quality sleep? It’s true, so if you are one those people who tend to lie awake in the middle of your sleep cycle, you need to pay extra attention to getting enough sleep.
What can you do to get proper sleep?
- Go to bed early. If you are one of those people who tends to wake up for 30-60 minutes or even 2 hours, go to bed earlier than normal, so you still have time for 8 hours of zzzz’s.
- Avoid sugar and caffeine before bed. Generally, try not to eat within at least 2 hours of bedtime. Drinking calming tea, like chamomile, can help promote relaxation.
- Relax. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t panic. Just relax. Try to meditate, say your gratitude, or if you are completely awake, try journaling or reading.
- Take care of your body during the daytime. Eat a healthy diet (plant-based whole foods, little to no processed food), get enough exercise and practice having a positive mindset. A healthy and happy day can help you sleep better the following night.
- Eat calming foods and herbs during the day, like ashwagandha. It is not a sleep aid that will put you to sleep, but it can simply help your body to destress during day and night and help you sleep.
I love Organifi Green Juice Powder, which has ashwagandha in it. You can find it here along with other goodies, such as the Biotic Balance Probiotics.
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? What do you do to sleep better? If you have any questions or tips, share them below, we love hearing from you!
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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