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Tips for falling back asleep after waking up

A restless night of sleep can leave you feeling cranky and groggy the next day. Over time, interrupted sleep can lead to other health issues as well.

Brian Koo, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the Yale Center for Restless Legs Syndrome said adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you are not getting enough sleep, you may be prone to eat high calorie foods, causing weight gain and an increased risk of hypertension and diabetes.

Why do I wake up in the middle of the night?

Common reasons why people wake up in the middle of the night include stress, depression, disturbances from your partner or sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop breathing for a few seconds at a time, multiple times per night while you sleep.

Stress and anxiety are common reasons why people have trouble sleeping in general. Other factors can include inappropriate light exposure, like looking at your cell phone or tablet, having too much caffeine and taking naps later in the day.

How can I fall back asleep?

It may be tempting, but Dr. Koo says don’t turn on the TV, look at your phone or computer. Instead, try to relax by meditating or taking deep breaths. He also said it is important not to stay in bed for more than 15 minutes at a time if you are awake. Get out of bed and then return once you are feeling sleep.

If you wake up repeatedly throughout the night, it could be the sign of a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, a psychiatric disorder like depression or environmental reasons like taking midday naps. If this is happening to you, or if you are able to fall back asleep but are sleeping restlessly, it might be time to consult a sleep expert to determine what is causing you to wake up.

How can I sleep better?

To have a restful night of sleep, look at your activities during the day. Avoid looking at electronics or TV within one hour of bedtime and don’t watch TV in bed. If you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, try to cut down on coffee or tea. Cut out naps if you tend to take them during the day and exercise! Breaking a sweat during the day is not only good for your overall health, it can lead to a more restful night’s sleep.