Do you ever just lie in bed, wanting to sleep but unable to get that much-needed shut-eye? Or do you wake up at odd times in the middle of the night and just can’t fall back asleep? If yes, you may have an interrupted or irregular sleep pattern and it’s imperative that you find out what’s causing it.
What does ‘interrupted sleep’ mean?
While total sleep time is undoubtedly important, sleep continuity is also critical. If you’re regularly waking up during the night, you’re not alone. Nearly 48% of adults wake up during the night three or more nights per week. But you aren’t necessarily considered sleep-deprived — you get an adequate amount of sleep. However, your sleep is spread over a 24-hour period rather than concentrated into 7 or 8 hours. With this condition, you may have problems with both insomnia and drowsiness during the day.
What causes interrupted sleep?
There are a wide-range of potential causes of interrupted sleep, and multiple factors may be involved in any specific person’s situation.
- The root cause of irregular sleep-wake syndrome is a near absence of the circadian rhythm responsible for regulating periods of wakefulness and rest. To find out what circadian rhythm is, read our detailed blog here.
- Other coexisting medical conditions, including pain and neurological problems may threaten sleep continuity.
- Prescription drugs can interfere with sleep.
- Stress from a person’s personal or professional life may cause interrupted sleep, and anxiety may make it harder to get back to sleep after waking up.
- Lifestyle choices like excess consumption of alcohol or caffeine, and using electronic devices like cell phones in bed can disrupt a person’s sleep patterns.
What will happen if you have an interrupted sleep pattern?
To receive the benefits of a good night’s sleep, the amount of time you sleep uninterrupted can be more important than the total amount of time you sleep overall. In other words, quality trumps quantity. That’s because our sleep cycles are progressive. If you get shortchanged on shut-eye, you might get moody, cranky, anxious, or depressed.
- You also might find it harder to think straight or to remember things. Waking up during the night isn’t only bad for your sleep; disrupted sleep also has implications for your health and overall quality of life.
- In the long run, lack of sleep can lead to conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Interrupted or fragmented sleep can contribute to insomnia, sleep deprivation, daytime sleepiness, and the numerous other potential consequences of insufficient sleep.
- Your Risk of Alzheimer’s May Increase: During sleep, your brain flushes toxins like amyloid-beta, a type of protein that’s linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In studies of people who regularly experience interrupted sleep, brain imaging shows a buildup of these proteins.
So yeah, we’d say that it's well worth your while to figure out how to get some good quality, uninterrupted ZZZs.
What can you do to get more uninterrupted sleep?
There are several strategies you can try to help you sleep through the night.
1. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Follow a regular sleep schedule every day, even on weekends. Avoid napping during the day, and adopt a calming bedtime routine to ease you into sleep each night.
2. Write Down Your Thoughts Before Bed
Jotting down your thoughts can be especially helpful if you think stressful thoughts are waking you up during the night. Spending just five minutes writing a to-do list can help you fall asleep faster, according to some studies.
3. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Consider eating dinner earlier if you’ve been eating late. If you get hungry later, opt for a light, healthy snack that’s easy to digest. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine past the afternoon. Watch out for surprising sources of caffeine, too, like chocolate, pain relievers, and soda.
4. Upgrade Your Bedroom
Small upgrades to your bedroom can make a big difference. Removing clutter can promote a sense of calm. If the morning sunlight is waking you up too early, you may want to invest in blackout curtains.
5. Sleep Somewhere Else
If your sleep partner’s snores are waking you up, try sleeping in another room. If your pet is the one waking you up, move them out of your bed and give them a dedicated spot to sleep on the floor.
6. Add a Melatonin Supplement to Your Nighttime Routine
For restful and uninterrupted sleep, try our Restful sleep gummies which have chamomile, melatonin, and L-theanine to help calm your nerves and clear your mind of thoughts and help you sleep like a baby.