What can I do to stop waking up during the night?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Waking up during the middle of the night is a widespread problem. However, there are some useful techniques that can help you fall back to sleep. To learn more about sleep and waking up during the night, watch this video by Dr. Oz.

It's totally normal to wake up during the night. But you should be able to go back to sleep even if you awaken in the wee hours. Following are some of the reasons people wake up during the night, and what you can do to improve sleep:

  • The sleep stealer: You're hot.
    How to combat it: The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that it takes longer to fall asleep when it's warm. And once you do fall sleep, it may be fragmented or broken up due to the heat. NSF says that for optimal sleep, in general, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The sleep stealer: You have to go to the bathroom. 
    How to combat it: It's normal to get up once or so to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But if you're waking up so often that it's getting in the way of a good night's sleep, consider evaluating your diet. The water found in foods like celery, watermelon or cucumbers may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. These foods are natural diuretics, which mean they push water through your system.
  • The sleep stealer: You spend evenings on your electronic devices.
    How to combat it: When looking at your devices during the evening hours, you're exposing yourself to light that can keep your brain awake. Aim to make your last hour before bedtime screenless by turning off the television, iPhone, iPad, laptop and other electronics.
  • The sleep stealer: You don't feel well.
    How to combat it: Suffering from nighttime indigestion? Oranges, lemons, grapefruits and other tangy citrus fruits as well as orange juice may be nutritious. But they're also acidic. And that means they can cause heartburn, which can keep you awake at night. Avoid consuming them close to bedtime for a better night's sleep.
  • The sleep stealer: You feel like you just ate dinner.
    How to combat it: Did you eat burgers and fries, pizza or another fatty food before bed? Eating a heavy meal promotes digestion, which means you'll have to use the restroom overnight. Plus, foods high in fat can give you stomach discomfort or heartburn.
  • The sleep stealer: You're wired.
    How to combat it: You want that cup of java to keep you awake during the day, not at night. But, since caffeine can stay in your system for hours, that mid-afternoon coffee run can haunt you later on. If you find that you're sensitive at night to caffeine's impact, avoid it in the afternoon as well as the evening.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.