Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia is different from regular insomnia in which a person has difficulty in falling asleep at the beginning of the night. Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia is characterized by the person sleeping in the beginning but waking up later in the middle of the night.

What Causes Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia?

Middle Insomnia sufferers or Middle of the Night Insomnia sufferers often feel helpless in the middle of the night as they are unable to return to sleep as before. Sometimes short lasting reasons disturb sleep after midnight or towards early morning. But sometimes, it can also become a routine and begin to cause middle insomnia anxiety. One might wonder "why am I waking up in the middle of the night?" And then comes the next question, "how to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night?"

What is Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia?

Midnight waking up often makes it difficult to sleep again for those who experience midnight insomnia. It simply means that such people can't stay asleep through the night. It is also called as nocturnal awakenings or middle of the night awakenings.

Those who experience middle of the night insomnia, typically complaint of inability to sleep through the whole night. They may set an alarm to wake up in the morning but end up waking much earlier than the set time. Then there is problem getting back to sleep again and somewhere after that they doze off to wake up and realize that it is morning time and the real time to wake up. This leaves them with a feeling that they have not had a refreshing sleep, which may even affect their performance. If it continues for long, people tend to get panicky about falling asleep as they fear their midnight insomnia. Then begins middle insomnia anxiety and the cycle continues.

What Causes Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia?

Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia may seem like a temporary phase in the beginning and people may either ignore it or try to work out some ways to tackle with it. However, if it keeps bothering for a longer period, it can cause harm to the body, mind and the overall performance of a person. There are many reasons for waking up in the middle of the night, but not being able to return to sleep can cause concern.

It is common for people to wake up in the night. Some of the causes of middle insomnia or reasons for waking up in the middle of the night include wanting to use the washroom, feeling hungry or thirsty, people working in shifts, frequent long distant travels, jet lags and changes in routine sleep-work pattern.

Some other causes for Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia include discomfort or pain, anxiety or stress, elderly patients or menopausal women, particularly those with certain medical conditions. Conditions that can interfere with regular sleep patterns are sleep apnea or breathing difficulty after sleeping, blocked nose, obesity, gastric problems, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hypertension, disorders of prostate, chronic pain conditions and long term emotional problems.

How to Stay Asleep or Ways to Avoid Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia?

Following a healthy sleep routine and well planned sleep hygiene can help deal with the problem of Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia. As there are many causes for midnight awakening, it is important to manage those first. Medical conditions causing pain, discomfort and distress at night need to be treated with appropriate medications and seeking medical advice is essential.

Also, it is important to manage the fluid intake and keep it more during the day. Avoiding taking fluids two hours before going to sleep, can prevent Middle Insomnia or midnight awakenings for using the washroom.

It is important to maintain a good sleep routine and set a biological clock for oneself to avoid middle insomnia or middle of the night insomnia.

  • Avoid taking naps during the day. Be active throughout the day, to increase the possibility of staying asleep through the night. Take a light diet, just as much required at dinner time. Avoid taking heavy meals that fill the stomach causing discomfort at night.
  • Plan sleep routine activity to be done just before going to bed, for e.g. listening to soft music, white noise or reading a good book. This helps to relax and prepare for a good sleep. Maintain a routine and sleep at the same time each day. Avoid sitting late nights on weekends as it can disturb the sleep cycle.
  • Enter the bedroom after feeling sleepy and avoid laying in the bed thinking of the next day duties. Set an alarm, if required but avoid keeping it in the bed and looking at the time throughout the night.

Home Remedies for Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia

  • Regular exercises, physical activity during the day and breathing exercises or meditation before going to sleep is the best home remedy for Middle Insomnia or Middle of the Night Insomnia as these can help manage stress and anxiety, which can improve sleep. Moreover, morning exercises give you the energy boost and relaxation exercises in the evening can help you get a good night sleep.
  • Another effective home remedy for middle insomnia or middle of the night insomnia Go out in the morning sun, take walks and go for jogging or swimming. It helps to set the body rhythm and helps body to relax and destress.
  • Relax with breathing exercises, rocking in a rocker chair, tuning in to music and be close to nature and act as a simple home remedy to help stay asleep and avoid middle insomnia or middle of the night insomnia.
  • Stop working, watching television or using gadgets some time before sleeping. These cause increased activity of brain, so allow brain and body to relax before sleeping. Also, keep these things out of bed in order to avoid suffering from middle insomnia or middle of the night insomnia.
  • Sipping on a glass of milk or eating banana at night can also help to improve sleep. Chamomile tea is also well-known to help relaxation and soothe the irritated nerves.

If middle of the night insomnia is causing concern, it is advisable to seek physician opinion. Sleeping pill, Melatonin supplements, valerian root, etc. are usually given to deal with midnight insomnia.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 25, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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