ZocdocAnswersWhy do I wake up so many times at night?

Question

Why do I wake up so many times at night?

For a month or so, I keep waking up at random times during the night. This is a new problem and I think I wake up like five or six times during the night. Why would I keep waking up like this? Should I take a sleep aid or something?

Answer

It sounds like you are experiencing some disruption in the normal progression of your sleep cycle, leading to waking up in the middle of the night. This is a really common problem, and most of the time the solution is simple. For example, you should take a look at your intake of caffeine and other stimulants. You may want to try avoiding all coffee, tea, and soda in the afternoon and evening to see if that makes a difference. Also alcoholic beverages are very common causes for sleep cycle disruption; try discontinuing any alcohol intake before bed to see if that makes a difference (paradoxically, alcohol helps most people fall asleep, but then it also causes them to wake up in the middle of the night). Also, if you are taking any medications to help you fall asleep you might want to take a look at that. For example, many people take sedating over the counter anti histamines, such as cold or cough remedies or Benadryl, to help with sleep. However, like alcohol, these only initially produce drowsiness and then lead to sleep cycle disruption later. Please get in to see your primary care doctor for more advice, and to rule out serious problems. Good luck!

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