Waking up in the middle of the night (every 2 hours) | sleep consultant (2023)

Reasons why we wake up at night

Waking up during the night is actually a normal part of sleep. actually onelatest study1shows that our brain wakes up more than 100 times during the night due to the stress hormone norepinephrine. However, these waking moments are so small that the sleeper will not notice.

However, what we do notice are things like waking up and going to the bathroom in the middle of the night or waking up at the same time every night. get up to peeonce2during the night is common and normal and in fact waking up at the same time every night is also common.

experts3believe that waking up at the same time every night is due to where you are in your sleep cycle. If you sleep at about the same time each night, you'll reach a light sleep stage at the same time each night and are more likely to wake up. As long as you can easily fall back asleep and don't feel any impact the next day, these brief nighttime awakenings are normal and healthy.

The problem is when you can't go back to sleep easily or at all and feel restless as a result. There are several reasons for what is called “average insomnia4.”

1. Night terrors

Look for5shows that certain people are predisposed to night terrors due to genetics, but environmental factors also play a role. Also called "night terrors," these episodes are characterized by extreme fear, panic, and a temporary inability to regain full consciousness. More commonly, theyaffect children6, and most people outgrow them by adolescence. However, some adults have lifelong night terrors.

Although certain people are genetically predisposed to having them, the episodes are usuallycaused7by environmental factors such as stress, fatigue, emotional distress, fever or conflict.

Make sure you and your children get enough sleep by establishing a consistent schedule andrelaxing night routine, managing stress and not focusing excessively on the night terrors of the next day shouldaid8.

(Video) How to Stop Waking Up in the Middle of the Night- 6 Ways to Beat Insomnia Without Medication

Waking up in the middle of the night (every 2 hours) | sleep consultant (1)

2. Sleep apnea

Many Americans struggle withSleep apnea, which is characterized by the body stopping breathing at regular intervals throughout the night. Fortunately, our bodies are incredibly sensitive and normally wake up to resume breathing; however, this still causesI'm interrupting.9

Often the awakening is so brief that we won't remember it, but if you sleep with a partner, it may tell you to stop breathing at intervals throughout the night. There are devices calledCPAP machinesThey help regulate your breathing. You may also want to change your sleeping position and lie on your side or get awedge pillowto help keep you supported if you sleep on your back.

See more information: signs of sleep apnea

(Video) Why You Keep Waking Up at the Same Time Every Night

3. Mental health: anxiety, depression and insomnia

Anxiety and stress are normal; most people feel these emotions when life is especially stressful. However, for people with an anxiety disorder, anxiety does not go away with circumstances. Symptoms like restlessness, panic, worry, palpitations and more can interfere with daily life, andsleep10.

Know more:asAnxiety affects your sleep?

Waking up in the middle of the night (every 2 hours) | sleep consultant (2)

Depression is often a precursor to sleep problems; therefore, if you have difficulty sleeping, your mental health could be at risk.the principal cause11. If you have depression, an anxiety disorder, or both, it's likely to affect your sleep in a cyclical way: the less sleep you get, the more your mental health suffers; the more your mental health is affected, the less sleep you will get.

Even if you're not living with an anxiety disorder or severe depression, the stress of life accumulated over the course of a day, weeks, or months can make relaxation seem impossible when we finally get into bed.This type of prolonged stress can also triggerinsomniaand profoundly affect our sleep.

If everyday stressors or mental health disorders are the things that keep you up at night, the best thing to do is limit your stressors, increase the things that bring you joy and relaxation, and if you are having difficulties, talk to A professional. who can guide you you.

(Video) 7 Reasons Why You Get Up During the Night – Dr.Berg On Sleep Apnea

See our guide:how to deal withstress and i am

4. Environmental factors

A room that is too hot or too cold is likely to blame for your stolen sleep. The ideal temperature in your room should be between60 and 67 degrees12, which may seem cold to some, but being too hot can also affect our ability to sleep.

When our body prepares to sleep, ourtemperature drops13due to the release of the hormone melatonin.To stay asleep, humans need to maintain a temperature around a degree or two below the standard 98.6 degrees.When your bedroom thermostat is set too high or too low, it makes your body work harder to maintain that balance, which can wake you up as a result.

Get more information:benefits ofsleeping in a cold room

5. Sleep disorders

In accordance withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention14, the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea. All of these disorders can cause waking up in the middle of the night, but it's one of the hallmarks of insomnia in particular. In fact, it's called "mild insomnia" when you struggle to sleep only in the middle of the night instead of at the beginning.4.

6. Physical pain

As mentioned, mental health and sleep have a cyclical relationship, but research says that physical pain and sleep have this type of connection as well.Studies15show that physical pain causes sleep disturbances (such as waking up in the middle of the night) and that sleep disturbances cause more physical pain.

people living withchronic painsixteenthey often report trouble sleeping and wake up more often during the night than others.

(Video) 🔴 Heavy Rain on Road to Sleep Faster, Beat Insomnia, Block Noises, Study, Relax | Heavy Rain Sounds

7. Late afternoon naps

There is a right way and a wrong way to nap, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night.experts17recommend naps of only 10-20 minutes, and at the beginning of the day, before 3 p.m. – to avoid interrupting your sleep later that night. This is especially true for people who already struggle with insomnia or wake up in the middle of the night, as you may inadvertently betraining your mind18rely on naps.

8. Having to pee

Earlier, we mentioned that it's normal to wake up once during the night to go to the bathroom, but experts say more than that could mean something is up. It's often an easy problem to fix: perhaps you drank too much water or alcohol before bed, which can cause you to have to urinate more often during the night. Other causes could be a diuretic medication, a UTI (for women), or simply a sign of aging.

If it persists, however, and you are a minor60,19you may want to consider talking to your doctor, especially if it is disrupting your sleep and affecting your life.

9. Noises or interruptions

Perhaps you live in an urban area or have roommates, children, or pets that wake you up at odd hours of the night. depending on whatof the cycle of the am phaseyou are, noise interruptions can wake up even the sleepiest. If you want to reduce the chance of being woken up by night noises, try using awhite noise machine.

10. Hormone fluctuation

For people who have menstrual cycles, this fluctuation throughout the month can cause all sorts of symptoms, including waking up in the middle of the night. This is due to the drastic dropprogesterone20right before your period, not to mention potential stomach cramps that will wake you up as well.

Sleep can also be disturbed during pregnancy due to fluctuating hormones, bodily changes, and physical discomfort, especially in the third trimester.20.

Finally, for people going through menopause, hormonal changes often cause them to wake up in the middle of the night with hot flashes or night sweats. Experts advise eating foods rich in soy to balance estrogen levels, avoiding spicy foods to ease night sweats, and staying cool in light pajamas (or not) at night.22.

(Video) 2 Year Old Sleep Training: How to Avoid Common Sleep Problems


Why do I keep waking up every 2 hours at night? ›

Reasons this might happen include drinking caffeine or alcohol late in the day, a poor sleep environment, a sleep disorder, or another health condition. When you can't get back to sleep quickly, you won't get enough quality sleep to keep you refreshed and healthy.

Why do I wake up at 2 3am every night? ›

If you wake up at 3 a.m. or another time and can't fall right back asleep, it may be for several reasons. These include lighter sleep cycles, stress, or underlying health conditions. Your 3 a.m. awakenings may occur infrequently and be nothing serious, but regular nights like this could be a sign of insomnia.

Why does my 5 month old wake up every 2 hours at night? ›

The real reasons that baby is waking every 2-3 hours at this age: Regression overlap, sleep crutches/associations, changing environments. Another reason your five to twelve month old baby may be waking up every 2-3 hours at night is due to him or her being overtired from the previous day.

Why do I wake up every night between 2 and 4? ›

Normally, at night time, melatonin levels will naturally increase, and cortisol (our stress hormone), will naturally be lower (than in the mornings). If you are under acute stress, or you have been under chronic stress, you may notice that you tend to wake up between 2-4 am and have difficulty falling back asleep.

How do you fix interrupted sleep? ›

How Can You Prevent or Address Interrupted Sleep?
  1. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including on weekends.
  2. Following a steady routine before bed, including plenty of time to wind down and relax.
  3. Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and big meals in the evening, especially in the hours before bed.
Oct 7, 2022

How can I stop waking up at 2am every night? ›

  1. Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. ...
  2. Relax your body. ...
  3. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. ...
  4. Put clocks in your bedroom out of sight. ...
  5. Avoid caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol to 1 drink several hours before bedtime. ...
  6. Avoid smoking. ...
  7. Get regular exercise. ...
  8. Go to bed only when you're sleepy.

What organ is active at 2am? ›

What organ makes you wake up at 2am? –– the hours between 1 am- 3 am are prime time for liver function. Our liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi (in Eastern medicine, that essentially means our energy) and blood production in the body.

Why do I wake up at 4am and can't get back to sleep? ›

Anxiety or depression

Stress can make it hard to get to sleep in the first place (that's called sleep-onset insomnia). But anxiety can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep (called middle insomnia, or sleep-maintenance insomnia).

Is it normal to wake up every 2 hours? ›

Most of us wake up three to four times during the night for varied reasons, and this is considered a part of a normal sleep pattern. However, a lot of us wake more frequently, sometimes even every two to three hours in the night.

How do I get back to sleep after waking up at 3am? ›

How to go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night
  1. Get rid of bright lights or loud sounds. ...
  2. Get out of bed and move. ...
  3. Avoid staring at the clock. ...
  4. Avoid checking your phone or other screens. ...
  5. Meditate or try breathing exercises. ...
  6. Relax your muscles. ...
  7. Keep your lights off. ...
  8. Focus on something boring.
Nov 25, 2020

Why do I wake up in the middle of the night with a burst of energy? ›

Meir Kryger, MD, an expert in sleep disorders at Yale Medicine, says that "being tired in the daytime and energetic at night is usually caused by circadian rhythm abnormalities," explaining that it means that "a person's body clock runs late and they have a burst of energy in the evening." He says that people often ...

How do I get my 5 month old to stop waking every 2 hours? ›

What To Do When Your Five-Month-Old Wakes Up Every 2 Hours
  1. What Is Sleep Regression?
  2. Make Sure Your Baby Is Getting Enough Naps.
  3. Move Bedtime Up By Half An Hour And Avoid The Witching Hour.
  4. Make Sure They're Getting Enough Calories During The Day.
  5. Have Exciting Wake Windows.
Jan 19, 2022

How do I get my 5 month old to sleep through the night again? ›

Here's how to get baby to sleep through the night:
  1. Establish a bedtime routine. ...
  2. Teach your baby to self-soothe, which means trying your best to soothe them less. ...
  3. Start weaning the night feedings. ...
  4. Follow a schedule. ...
  5. Keep a calming ambiance. ...
  6. Stick to an appropriate bedtime. ...
  7. Be patient. ...
  8. Check out our sleep tips!
Mar 9, 2020

How can I get my 5 month old to sleep longer than 2 hours? ›

6 ways to help your baby sleep through the night
  1. Put your baby down drowsy.
  2. Don't assume she's hungry.
  3. Create a bedtime routine.
  4. Stretch out night feedings.
  5. Don't rush into solids.
  6. Follow baby's cues about sleep.
Apr 12, 2018

What is it called when you wake up multiple times during the night? ›

Sleep apnea is a common cause of waking in the middle of the night. It causes shallow breathing, which may cause a person to wake up several times per night. In many cases, a person will not even realize that their sleep is interrupted. A person with sleep apnea may notice symptoms such as: headaches in the morning.

Does magnesium help you sleep? ›

Not only can magnesium help you get to sleep, but it plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well. In one study, older adults were given 500 mg of magnesium or a placebo. Overall, the magnesium group had better quality of sleep.

Can depression make you wake up in the middle of the night? ›

Depression and Insomnia

Early wakening is closely associated with depression, as well as difficulty falling asleep at night. Those with depression may switch back and forth between insomnia and hypersomnia during a single period of depression.

How can I get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? ›

Try out these sleep hacks to make getting your eight hours a little easier:
  1. Get on a schedule. ...
  2. Turn off your screens before bed. ...
  3. Keep it cool. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Avoid heavy food before bed. ...
  6. Limit your alcohol before bed. ...
  7. Switch to decaf in the afternoons. ...
  8. Cut out the cigarettes.
Aug 4, 2017

Is Interrupted sleep worse than no sleep? ›

Share on Pinterest Researchers say interrupted sleep is more likely to lead to poor mood than lack of sleep. Published in the journal Sleep, the study found that people whose sleep was frequently interrupted for 3 consecutive nights reported significantly worse mood than those who had less sleep due to later bedtimes.

Why can't I sleep the whole night? ›

Insomnia, the inability to get to sleep or sleep well at night, can be caused by stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications you take, or even the amount of coffee you drink. Insomnia can also be caused by other sleep disorders or mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Why do I keep waking up at 12am and 3am? ›

You wake up at 3am because this is the time you shift from a deep sleep into a lighter sleep. If you turn in at 11pm, by three in the morning you're mostly out of deep sleep and shifting into longer periods of lighter sleep, known as REM.

What is middle insomnia? ›

Middle insomnia describes a difficulty maintaining sleep after initial sleep onset. For these individuals, sleep is fragmented with frequent awakenings at night. Middle insomnia is commonly associated with neurological syndromes (e.g., RLS), pain syndromes, or depression.

Does melatonin help you stay asleep? ›

Your body likely produces enough melatonin for its general needs. However, evidence suggests that melatonin supplements promote sleep and are safe for short-term use. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief.

Is my liver waking me up at 3am? ›

1-3am is the time of the Liver and a time when the body should be alseep. During this time, toxins are released from the body and fresh new blood is made. If you find yourself waking during this time, you could have too much yang energy or problems with your liver or detoxification pathways.

What is the 4am rule? ›

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin. You've heard it said a million times before: the early bird catches the worm, and in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliche.

What does 3am wake up mean in Chinese medicine? ›

So if you wake up at 3 AM, when Liver energy peaks, you may be suffering from Liver Qi stagnation, which could be related to an unhealthy diet, excess alcohol consumption, unresolved anger or high levels of stress.

Can I take melatonin if I wake up in the middle of the night? ›

It's readily available, and it's supposed to help you sleep . . . right? Sleep deprivation can make this logic seem sound, but experts say taking melatonin in the middle of the night can actually make your sleep schedule even worse.

Can I take melatonin at 3am? ›

What is the best time to take 3 a.m. melatonin? The best time to take 3 a.m. melatonin is whenever you wake up in the middle of the night and have a difficult time going back to sleep. † For best results, take at least 3 hours before waking.

What organ is active at 4am? ›

The hours between 1am and 3am are governed by the liver meridian. Emotionally it is associated with anger and physically associated with your shoulder. The hours between 3am and 5am are governed by the lung meridian.

Can anxiety wake you up in the middle of the night? ›

Nighttime (nocturnal) panic attacks can occur with no obvious trigger and awaken you from sleep. As with a daytime panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath, heavy breathing (hyperventilation), flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom.

What health conditions cause insomnia? ›

Examples of conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Sleep-related disorders.

What is circadian rhythm sleep disorder? ›

Circadian rhythm disorders, also known as sleep-wake cycle disorders, are problems that occur when your body's internal clock, which tells you when it's time to sleep or wake, is out of sync with your environment. Your internal clock, called a circadian clock, cycles about every 24 hours.

What can I take in the middle of the night for sleep? ›

Sleep aids: The options
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine. ...
  • Doxylamine (Unisom). Doxylamine is also a sedating antihistamine. ...
  • Melatonin. The hormone melatonin helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle. ...
  • Valerian. Supplements made from this plant are sometimes taken as sleep aids.

What causes waking up at 3am? ›

One reason why you may be waking up at 3am is because your sleep is disrupted during light sleep. It could be that your sleep cycle happens to enter this stage of sleep around 3am each night, and something that didn't disturb your sleep during other sleep stages could be disturbing you during light sleep.

Can you take melatonin more than once a night? ›

Melatonin is generally safe for most people, and many people won't experience major complications when taking too much. Even so, an overdose can cause unpleasant side effects. Keep your dose to no more than 1 to 3 mg per night.

What hormone wakes you up in the middle of the night? ›

The optic nerve in your eyes senses the morning light. Then the SCN triggers the release of cortisol and other hormones to help you wake up.

Why do I feel weird when I wake up in the middle of the night? ›

You probably know the feeling all too well — grogginess that seems to weigh you down when you wake from sleep. That heavy feeling right after you wake up is called sleep inertia. You feel tired, maybe a little disoriented, and not quite fully ready to hit the ground running. It can affect anyone.

What is it called when you wake up in the middle of the night and you can't breathe? ›

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

It occurs when the soft tissues in your throat relax, which can close your airway and cause a temporarily stop to breathing (apneic episode). The result is usually an abrupt disturbance to sleep or an actual awakening, often accompanied by gasping or choking.

What ages do sleep regressions occur? ›

Sleep regressions can occur at any age, including 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 18 months and 2 years. The 12-month sleep regression occurs at or near baby's first birthday, though some children begin regressing at 10 or 11 months.

How long does a sleep regression last? ›

Sleep regressions typically last anywhere from two to four weeks, and, while they are common, not every baby will have a sleep regression at this time.

Why does my 5 month old not sleep through the night anymore? ›

Sleep tends to be disrupted during this time as your baby is distracted by physical discomfort, such as teething, or neurological leaps such as learning to roll, pull up or walk. Both these things distract your little one from relaxing down into sleep.

Why is my 5 month old waking up every 2 3 hours at night? ›

If your baby is waking every 2-3 hours overnight and easily goes back to sleep with a feeding, hunger is the likely cause. A gradual calorie rebalance should occur to shift extra nighttime feedings back into the day.

Why does my 5 month old wake up at 3am every night? ›

Between 4-6 months your baby may start waking more in the night for milk, genuinely hungry, even if they can self-settle and had previously been sleeping through the night.

How long does it take to sleep train? ›

Every baby is different. But experts say that, on average, it takes about three to seven days to achieve successful sleep training results. The key to succeeding in a week is consistency. Your baby won't learn to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own after only seven days if you do not keep trying night after night.

How can I sleep through the night without waking up? ›

  1. Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. ...
  2. Relax your body. ...
  3. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. ...
  4. Put clocks in your bedroom out of sight. ...
  5. Avoid caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol to 1 drink several hours before bedtime. ...
  6. Avoid smoking. ...
  7. Get regular exercise. ...
  8. Go to bed only when you're sleepy.

Why has my 5 month old started waking every 2 hours? ›

Around 4 months, your baby will likely start waking every 2 hours at night because their sleep cycles there have matured as well. Your baby's night sleep becomes more like an adult's, with sleep cycles that are approximately 2 hours long.

Is it normal for my 5 month old to wake up every 2 hours? ›

Although it is normal for babies to wake during the night, waking every 2 hours is excessive even for newborns, and if your baby is over four months and waking every two hours or more, it is most likely that they have some external association with falling asleep, which now have a direct impact on how to link sleep ...

Why am I waking up at a certain time every night? ›

Why Do I Wake Up at the Same Time Each Night? A variety of factors could cause a person to wake up each night when they would prefer to be asleep. These factors might intersect with natural bodily rhythms, such as your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle, to make waking up at a specific time more likely.

What is parasomnia disorder? ›

Parasomnias are disruptive sleep-related disorders. Abnormal movements, talk, emotions and actions happen while you're sleeping although your bed partner might think you're awake. Examples include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, nightmare disorder, sleep-related eating disorder and sleep paralysis.

How do I stop waking up at 3am? ›

People whose sleep is disrupted by waking up at 3 a.m. can try following healthy sleep tips to sleep through the night more consistently. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol are associated with disrupted sleep, especially when they are consumed later in the day.

Can anxiety cause you to wake up in the middle of the night? ›

Nighttime (nocturnal) panic attacks can occur with no obvious trigger and awaken you from sleep. As with a daytime panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath, heavy breathing (hyperventilation), flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom.

What vitamin deficiency causes night terrors? ›

In our study population, children with sleep terror had lower vi- tamin D levels than the control group. This suggests that chil- dren with sleep terror should be assessed in terms of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

What kind of doctor treats parasomnia? ›

Parasomnia is typically treated by a sleep medicine specialist who also has extensive training in neurology. A physician who is board-certified in both sleep medicine and neurology has demonstrated their expertise in both fields by passing rigorous exams and is most qualified to treat these disorders and conditions.

What drug causes parasomnia? ›

Medicines such as beta-blockers, statins, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and nicotine replacement therapies have been associated with various parasomnias.

What medication is used for middle insomnia? ›

The benzodiazepine medications approved for insomnia treatment in the United States are estazolam, flurazepam, quazepam, temazepam, and triazolam (table 6).

What drug is given for middle of the night insomnia? ›

However, the FDA has approved only one drug for middle-of-the-night insomnia, Intermezzo (zolpidem tartrate). Intermezzo is taken when you wake up at night to help you fall back asleep.

What drugs treat middle insomnia? ›

Medications for middle-of-the-night insomnia

benzodiazepines, such as estazolam and quazepam. benzodiazepine receptor agonists, such as zolpidem and eszopiclone. melatonin agonists, including ramelteon. antidepressants, such as trazodone and mirtazapine.


1. How to Get a Baby to Sleep: Tips from Pediatrician Dr. Gurinder Dabhia | San Diego Health
(Scripps Health)
2. Sleep Strategies: For the 9 to 18 Month Old Child - NorthBay Healthcare
(NorthBay Health)
3. Expert secrets on how to get your baby to sleep through the night
(Good Morning America)
4. How to Lower Cortisol and Fix Your Sleep: Circadian Rhythm, Cortisol, and Sleep - Dr. Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
5. How to Fall Asleep: Turn off Worry and Insomnia With This Quick Skill
(Therapy in a Nutshell)
6. How to Fix Urination Frequency at Night (Nocturia) for Good
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