Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I wake up so many times during the night?"
I am a 23 year old male college student at Ohio State University. Just about every night, I wake up multiple times throughout the night and have trouble going back to sleep. I have taken Advil PM and Tylenol PM in the past to help fix this problem. Both seem to help, but neither solves my problem. Should I see a doctor about this problem?
Difficulties with sleeping are a very common complaint encountered in the outpatient medical setting. One important question to consider is why you are waking up in the first place - is this because you are anxious, or getting up to urinate, or do you have difficulty falling asleep in the first place? If you are waking up to urinate, you should try to not drink any fluids for 2 hours prior to going to bed, and try to avoiding drinking any diuretics (such as alcohol) late in the evening. If you are feeling anxious and notice that you have several thoughts racing through your mind when you lie down for bed, then you should consider talking with a mental health professional or a primary care doctor about your triggers for anxiety or stress, and about finding healthy ways to cope with these issues. In general, many problems with sleep can be helped by ensuring that you are following good overall sleep hygiene. This term encompasses a variety of ideas, such as minimizing distractions in the bedroom (i.e., not watching TV in bed prior to going to sleep), establishing a regular routine prior to going to bed, and going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day.
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