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Why am I Waking Up in the Middle of the Night?

Waking Up in the Middle of the Night Benefits Of Sleep

Why am I Waking Up in the Middle of the Night?

Obtaining a sound night of rest is critical from both a physical and a mental point of view. A lack of solid sleep can disrupt REM (rapid eye movement) cycles and more often than not, the individual in question will feel groggy throughout the following day. 

Waking Up

However, we should also point out that prolonged periods of broken sleep cycles can have a detrimental impact upon our health. High blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even heart attacks are some of the results which can occur if this condition is left unchecked. 

The main issue is that waking up in the middle of the night can be caused by numerous situations. For example, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is caused by a narrowing of your airways when they become relaxed while sleeping. If you snore loudly, you may suffer from OSA. We can help with in-home testing for this condition (more about that later in this article). 

Let us take a look at some of the most common factors before moving on to discover why an at-home sleep test could very well provide you with the clarity required to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. 


This might appear to be a rather obvious observation, but it is still important to mention insomnia. Although the majority of individuals will experience this situation from time to time, it is a chronic condition for others. 

Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep throughout the night. There are several contributing factors to take into account including:

  • Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
  • Certain medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Stress and anxiety

However, we are only scratching the surface in regards to why it might be difficult for you to fall asleep. 

Feelings of Stress, Anxiety or Depression

This situation was briefly highlighted in the last paragraph and it deserves a closer look. Many individuals “worry themselves awake” on a nightly basis. Whether caused by family-related problems, bipolar disorder or stress derived from work, the fact of the matter is that these emotional states can take a very real toll on the body. 

It is also unfortunate that this tends to be a self-perpetuating cycle; those who are anxious about receiving a restful evening of sleep are more likely to remain awake. In other words, the situation becomes more exacerbated over time. It could be wise to speak with a medical professional to get to the root of the issue. 


This condition is commonly defined by the need to urinate during the overnight hours. While it may be the result of a high fluid intake, there could be underlying causes which deserve a closer look such as:

  • Pregnancy 
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Certain types of medication
  • A bladder prolapse or an overactive bladder

Drinking alcohol before going to bed can also cause nocturia. 

Electronics and the Nearby Environment

Many of us have come to rely upon gadgets such as mobile phones and laptop computers on a regular basis. However, their presence could come at a price in regards to your sleep. 

Studies have shown that the light emitted from these devices can disrupt the ability of our bodies to produce a chemical known as melatonin. This hormone melatonin is directly related to falling (and remaining) asleep. 

The other takeaway point is that the sounds from these devices (such as a late-night documentary) can cause the mind to remain active when it should be dozing off. It is therefore best to turn off any electronics at least 30 minutes before sleeping. 

In the same respect, those who live within an environment known for high levels of noise will naturally experience issues when trying to fall asleep. Busy motorways, late-night neighbours and even a loud boiler activating can all jar us from what would have otherwise been a restful evening. In this case, white noise or sound-blocking earplugs may be wise options to consider. 

Night Sweats

It is very difficult to remain asleep if our bodies become overheated. While this could be caused by situations as simple as a hot summer evening, night sweats may also play a contributing role. Night sweats can be caused by conditions such as:

  • Certain autoimmune disorders
  • Medications
  • Anxiety and stress

It is best to speak with your physician to ultimately determine what may be playing a role in such situations. 


Eating certain foods before going to bed can result in indigestion. This is particularly the case with spicy substances or those high in sugar. Should the body have a difficult time digesting such foods, bloating and cramping can result. There can also be instances when heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may be present. If changing your dietary habits does not improve the situation, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor to learn more. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Otherwise referred to by the acronym OSA, this is a condition silently suffered by millions of individuals. Sleep apnoea is caused by a narrowing of your airways when they become relaxed while sleeping. As a result, your body is not able to obtain the proper levels of oxygen. One of the main issues here is that many are unaware that they might have OSA. This partially arises from the fact that the symptoms are somewhat general. The most common include:

  • Morning headaches
  • Feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day
  • Constant snoring (a partner may notice this)
  • Waking up in the middle of the night choking or gasping for air

The good news is that sleep apnoea can be treated by a professional. The most common option is to employ the use of a machine known as a CPAP during the overnight hours. 

CPAP is an abbreviation for continuous positive airway pressure and its main purpose is to enable your airways to remain open through the use of a mask which fits snugly over your mouth and nose. The pressure itself can be adjusted and many offer additional options such as the ability to add humidity to the air in order to avoid a dry throat. 

Of course, you will first need to speak with a doctor or a sleep specialist to determine which model is the most appropriate. This brings us to the final point. 

Getting Tested for Sleep Apnoea

If you have ruled out the other situations mentioned previously in this article, you might very well be suffering from sleep apnoea. This is why it is critical to obtain an at-home sleep test. These non-invasive analyses are intended to determine whether or not the condition is present. 

This is normally the first step of an accurate diagnosis. The test can be carried out in the comfort of your own home and in the event that OSA is suspected, a professional will be able to provide the necessary recommendations. You will be happy to learn that the majority of those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea will often be able to obtain a sound night of sleep thanks to the help of a CPAP machine. 

Obstructive sleep apnoea should not be taken lightly, as it can impact other aspects of your health over time. Of course, it will also prevent you from sleeping and lead to constant feelings of tiredness. This is why there is no moment better than the present to determine the root cause of your insomnia. There are a host of options at your disposal and feel free to refer back to the sections within this article in order to narrow down the potential causes. 

To order the Intus At-Home Sleep Test: https://www.sleeptest.co.uk/product/in-home-sleep-test/

To shop for the highest-quality selection of CPAP devices: https://www.cpap.co.uk/shop.html



About author: Jenny Hall is a clinical manager at Intus Healthcare’s parent company, Baywater Healthcare. She has extensive specialist clinical experience from Regional Nurse Adviser through to Senior Nurse Adviser, Service Lead and Contract Manager. She has provided leadership for the Regional Nurse Advisers ensuring best practice, implementation of National Guidance and Clinical Governance. Ms. Hall has worked with Baywater Healthcare since 2013, with leadership responsibility in delivering Home Oxygen and Long-Term Conditions services. Her clinical team focuses on delivering services closer to home which offer the NHS value with optimum clinical outcomes. Previously, Ms. Hall provided leadership to Regional Nurse Advisors with Air Products, a company providing home oxygen services to Wales, East Midlands and North London. She has served as a Senior COPD National Trainer and Nurse Adviser COPD Response with Innovex, ensuring highest competencies were maintained and best practices delivered. Ms. Hall has a Ba Honours Degree as a Registered General Nurse from Oxford Brookes University and MSc Health Studies from Staffordshire University. She completed Respiratory Education and Training Courses and the Edinburgh Sleep Course. Jenny Hall’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenny-hall-34331b60/

In-Home Sleep Test

In-home Sleep Test provides a quick, convenient and affordable way to have Sleep Apnoea confirmed. All studies are independently analysed by experienced NHS-qualified sleep professionals, and use the WatchPAT recording device for unrivalled accuracy.
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