"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Major sleep problems

According to some estimates, the common person wakes up about 4 times each night. Most of the time, people go to sleep quickly, and this will not be an issue. But as we age, the variety of awakenings can increase.

A rude awakening

While you possibly can't change the period of time you spend in deep sleep, you possibly can manage the interruptions that wake you up. Here's a take a look at essentially the most common.

Noise If you’re sensitive to noise, wear earplugs to bed. “They are incredibly effective at reducing sounds that can disrupt sleep,” says Dr. Czeisler. Earplugs can be found at grocery stores and pharmacies. One option is expandable foam earplugs: you roll the plug right into a narrow cylinder, insert it halfway into the ear canal, after which release it, causing it to expand. Or you possibly can wear cone-shaped plugs, which you gently push into the ear canal until it's snug. They may feel unnatural at first, but you’ll steadily adapt to them.

the sunshine Eyeshades, also often called sleep masks, block light and may create a chilled effect. Choose something that's soft but loose enough that you would be able to blink without rubbing the within your eyelids, says Dr. Czeisler. Masks are available in quite a lot of materials, similar to cotton, silk, and wool.

Some people like gel-filled cooling masks, which you refrigerate until needed. Masks full of small pods or pellets provide weight that some people find comfortable, like a weighted blanket.

Bathroom trips. Your kidneys also follow a sleep-wake cycle. They excrete 3 times more water throughout the day than at night, but you continue to must keep their rhythm in sync to avoid waking up for a visit to the toilet.

The best plan of action is to avoid drinking fluids several hours before bedtime. “Especially avoid caffeine at least six hours before bed,” says Dr. Siesler. Caffeine, a stimulant, has a half-life of six to nine hours, meaning half stays in your system for not less than six hours after drinking.

You must also install motion-activated lights along the approach to the toilet. “This prevents you from turning on a bright overhead light that can trick your brain into thinking it's time to get up,” says Dr. Czeisler.

Leg pain at night. Night leg cramps are muscle spasms that occur when the nerves that power muscle contractions go into non-stop firing mode. They are common in individuals with foot problems similar to flat feet or high arches, metabolic disorders, or neurological conditions, similar to Parkinson's disease or neuropathy (nerve damage).

To prevent foot or leg pain, get up and slowly bend forward. If you don't need to get off the bed, sit up and reach forward so you possibly can hold your feet, then slowly bend your feet toward your head. Hold for about 20 seconds, then release. Repeat as needed.

Despite the shortage of scientifically proven and protected treatments to stop recurring nighttime leg cramps, a couple of methods could also be value trying.

One way is to stretch your legs before going to bed. (You can follow this online stretching routine, complete with video instructions, that only involves stretching the legs.

Other precautions include staying well hydrated, wearing well-fitting supportive shoes throughout the day, and keeping your feet loose at night.

Watch for sleep apnea

Lack of sleep is another excuse for waking up at night. An estimated 15% to 30% of men experience this potentially serious disorder, through which respiration stops and starts repeatedly during sleep, leaving you partially awake and gasping for air. gasp for If you or your partner notice any of the common symptoms of sleep deprivation, similar to snoring or snoring, restlessness during sleep, and fatigue even after a full night's rest. Weight gain also increases your risk. A ten% increase in body weight can equate to a sixfold increase in the danger of sleep deprivation.

Wake up and fall asleep

If you get up at night, give your body enough time to sleep. “Don't reach for the computer or phone, or read with the lights on, which can overstimulate your brain,” says Dr. Siesler.

Instead, try deep respiration exercises, meditate, or hearken to a sound machine. “Even though you may feel like you're waking up in the dark, in most cases, you're asleep a good portion of the time and don't even know it,” says Dr. Czeisler.

Photo: © Elaine Schroeder/Getty Images