If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, there could be several possibilities for your disrupted slumber. It could be attributed to certain daytime habits, like drinking coffee too late into your day, or other underlying issues that are worth identifying. Regardless of what’s preventing a restful night, it’s crucial to think of sleep as a sign of your health, rather than as a means to an end. To figure out why you’re waking up in the middle of the night, we looked to Terry Cralle, RN, a registered nurse and certified clinical sleep educator at The Better Sleep Council, for some answers.
1. You’re not cutting off caffeine early enough.
If you work a normal 9-to-5 schedule, a good rule of thumb is to switch to noncaffeinated drinks by lunchtime. To many of us, that might not sound doable, especially as soon as that afternoon slump rolls around. But caffeine can remain in your system long into the day. Also keep in mind what that third cup of coffee is telling you.
“If you’re relying on caffeine all through the day, you’re not getting enough sleep,” Cralle told POPSUGAR.
2. It’s your nightcap.
Winding down with a glass of wine before bed may initially put you right to sleep, but nightcaps typically result in a restless night. Once you’re awake, you stay wide awake long enough for it to affect the rest of your evening’s quality of sleep.
“[Having alcohol close to bedtime] will disrupt your sleep later on and really cause it to be fragmented,” Cralle said. “And then you can get in a vicious cycle of too much caffeine during the day, so you’re going to sort of self-medicate with alcohol at night. Then you wake up exhausted, which requires more caffeine.”
Instead, opt for herbal tea or warm milk.