How could this be avoided?
Worrying at night bothers women in particular, but is not uncommon in men either. Exercise, relaxation, and avoiding alcohol usually help with home care.
1. What is middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Middle-of-the-night insomnia is one type of insomnia. Then a person falls asleep relatively easily in the evening, but wakes up early in the morning and can’t no longer fall asleep again or the falling asleep takes a long time.
Middle-of-the-night insomnia is also considered if you wake up continuously more than half an hour before the usual waking time. This type of insomnia is the most common type of insomnia problem, and is especially prevalent in the middle-aged and elderly.
However, middle-of-the-night insomnia must be distinguished from normal morning-waking. The sleep rhythm includes episodes of deep and light sleep, and almost everyone wakes up at night during light sleep. Most fall asleep quickly again and don’t even remember waking up in the morning.
2. What are the physical causes of middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Insomnia is caused by many reasons. In adolescents, the rhythm of sleep is very clear, and in them the periods of deep and light sleep vary regularly. As you age, your sleep rhythm becomes irregular, and the amount of deep sleep decreases. That is when a person wakes up at night more easily.
As you get older, your sleep-wake rhythm also gets earlier. Because of this, the elderly often go to bed very early and also wake up early. Some may experience the change in rhythm as insomnia, even if it is not. Various physical ailments and pains can also keep you awake.
3. What kind of mental causes cause middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Worries and other stressful things can predispose you to insomnia. In the morning, a person has already usually slept for a few hours, when the greatest sleep deficit is filled. When a stressed person wakes up from the early hours of the morning, worries and anxieties can begin to spin in the mind, resulting in an increase in alertness.
Once the biggest fatigue is over, falling asleep again may not be possible anymore. Working-age people, on the other hand, can reflect on stressful work-related issues. If you are facing a stressful day at work or an early wake-up call, one often begins to mentally prepare for it as early as morning.
4. What lifestyle factors predispose to middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Excessive alcohol consumption predisposes to sleep problems. Alcohol consumed in the evening can help you fall asleep, but later in the night it can impair the quality and amount of sleep. Smoking also causes a variety of harms in the body, impairing sleep quality and increasing nocturnal awakenings. In addition, lack of exercise impairs sleep.
5. How is middle-of-the-night insomnia treated without medication?
Middle-of-the-night insomnia is treated like any other sleep disorder, ie by finding out the causes of insomnia individually. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about what triggers insomnia.
If the insomnia has started suddenly, there is usually some stress factor behind it. If the insomnia has been going on for a long time, you need to look into whether there is an underlying illness or mood problem.
There are many factors behind long-term insomnia. Treating insomnia should start with going through the basics of sleep maintenance. It can mean reducing alcohol and caffeine use or increasing exercise.
It is important to find ways to seek solutions to troubling issues or stress. A variety of relaxation and mindfulness exercises help reduce the hyperactivity often associated with insomnia.
6. How does medication affect middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Many medications can cause insomnia as a side effect. If you feel that your middle-of-the-night insomnia is due to a medication, you should talk to your doctor.
Sleeping pills, and especially their misuse, can also cause insomnia or its worsening. Sleeping pills should always be taken in the evening before going to bed. The more later it is taken, the more adversely it affects the level of alertness the next day, so it should not be taken early in the small hours. The medicine taken in the small hours impairs the ability to function the next day and, for example, driving a car.
Using sleeping pills for too long may also cause insomnia, as the body has time to get used to the effects of the medicine. When the effect of the drug ends in the morning, a person is more prone to waking up than without the drug.
7. What diseases or ailments can cause middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Common diseases that cause insomnia are untreated or poorly balanced cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases associated with shortness of breath. Of the mental disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse problems cause the most insomnia. In addition, insomnia can be a symptom of another sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.
Insomnia is very often associated with menopause in women and prostate problems in men. Hot flashes often wake you up at night, in addition to which hormonal changes may make sleep lighter. Prostate problems, on the other hand, cause many visits to the toilet every night, which is why sleep is broken.
8. What kind of people suffer from middle-of-the-night insomnia?
Insomnia is twice as common in women as in men. Insomnia is especially prevalent in those who otherwise have a wide variety of illnesses, mental strain, or mental disorders. Insomnia also often occurs in challenging life situations, such as during workload, unemployment, or financial problems. Character traits hypersensitivity and a tendency to worry and tension may predispose to insomnia.
9. What are the effects of middle-of-the-night insomnia on functioning?
Short-term insomnia is often followed by a decrease in mood and ability to concentrate, irritability, and depression. A person experiences a decline in their quality of life and satisfaction.
Prolonged insomnia can contribute to predisposition to depression, anxiety, or physical illness.
10. When should you seek help for insomnia?
When your own means of treating insomnia are not enough, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can find out if the ailment is related to a disease or other factors and refer you to an appropriate form of treatment.
Many occupational health services have groups for the treatment of insomnia that can be used to improve sleep without medication using various methods.