Home / Blog /

Waking Up Every Hour? Here's Why

Waking Up Every Hour? Here's Why

Sandland Editorial Team
· 4 min read
waking up every hour

In a perfect world, we'd all fall asleep easily and stay asleep until morning. Unfortunately, if you’re reading this you’re probably not one of those people. And if you're waking up every hour, you're probably under some serious sleep debt. The good news is that there are some surprising solutions to the struggle. Read on to learn the A to Zzz of why you can't stay asleep, and how to get quality sleep every night.

Why Am I Waking Up Throughout The Night?

We all sleep. But the way we sleep, how long we sleep, and our sleep quality are very different. Below, you'll find some leading contributors to interrupted sleep.

1. Anxiety

Think back to the last time you were anxious about something. Chances are, even if your symptoms improved during the day, your anxiety followed you into bed. If you're waking up every hour, then this uninvited guest could be the reason behind your interrupted sleep.

But what if you don't have anxiety, and still can't sleep? Here's the thing: Sleep problems can trigger sleep-related anxiety. This is why anxiety rears its ugly head for some people once the lights go out.

2. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

If you're constantly waking up, your sleepless nights could be a sign that your circadian rhythm is out of balance. Circadian rhythm, you say? Also known as the sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm basically refers to our biological or internal clock.

This internal clock follows a pattern that takes about 24 hours, and it governs most of our biology and activities. Some of the functions this master clock regulates include your sleep, body temperature, hormone levels, mood, behavior, and more. A rather important list of functions, right?

When this clock falls out of sync, your sleep gets disrupted, and this can cause many sleep disorders.

3. Sleep Apnea

Imagine going to sleep, but not staying asleep. Imagine wanting to breathe but not being able to. Well, with sleep apnea, you can't sleep and you can't breathe. People with the condition wake up throughout the night just so they don't suffocate.

How serious is sleep apnea as a sleep disorder? Pretty serious. Not only does this lack of sleep immediately deregulate blood pressure, but sleep apnea is also linked to:

  • Alzheimer's
  • Aging
  • Hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Overactive bladder in women
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure

This is a fairly scary list of risks, but want to know what's really terrifying? Thirty million American adults live with sleep apnea. Eighty percent of them don't even know they have it.

4. Night Terrors

waking up every hour

If it's difficult for you to stay asleep, then you may have night terrors. But aren't night terrors just for kids? Not exactly. You're never too old to be afraid, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The organization reports that 2.2 percent of adults experience night terrors.

Also known as sleep terrors, these events refer to when a person wakes up from sleep in a terrified state. Listed below are a few common symptoms:

  • Scream in distress
  • Suddenly sit upright in bed
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing fast
  • Confusion
  • Sweating

No one really knows what causes night terrors in adults, but depression, anxiety, breathing issues, fatigue, sleep problems, and stress are all considered contributing factors.

5. Restless Leg Syndrome

If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night, then your restless sleep may be due to restless leg syndrome (RLS). Restless leg syndrome or restless legs syndrome is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations in, well, the legs.

People with this condition have a strong urge to move their legs. These sensations are often described as burning, pulling, itching, or crawling. Difficult to get sound sleep with such sensations, right?

According to research, there are many causes of restless legs syndrome including depression, genes, diabetes, low levels of iron in the brain, and more.

Certain medications such as acid-blocking drugs, and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson's disease are linked to RLS.

6. Pain

We all know that there's no such thing as pain-free life. But chronic pain is one we would all rather do without. Whether it's a tension headache, back pain, cramps, or joint pain, different types of pain can cause sleep problems.

Even if you don't suffer from chronic pain, it's still possible to get sudden pain in the middle of the night. But don't forget - sleeping positions can also trigger pain or discomfort.

7. Nocturia

This fancy word is the medical term for getting up to pee in the middle of the night. Getting up once is usually harmless and considered "normal." However, getting up to pee two or more times can make it hard to stay asleep.

Nocturia is a condition that's often associated with old age, and with those who have a decline in kidney function.

But what if you aren't old, and don't have kidney issues? Here are a few more causes linked to frequent urination:

  • Caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Sleep apnea
  • Congested heart
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • An overactive bladder
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood-thinning medications

Keep in mind that regularly waking up to pee in the middle of the night could also be a sign of an underlying condition, like diabetes or urinary tract infection (UTI).

8. Poor Sleep Hygiene

You know about the importance of physical hygiene, but did you know that sleep hygiene is just as important? This catch-all term covers everything that helps you promote healthy sleep.

Good sleep hygiene is about considering your sleeping habits including environmental factors.

For example, is your bedroom conducive to promoting sleep? How about the hour leading up to bedtime? If you use electronic devices before bed or watch TV in bed, then the blue light they emit can disrupt your sleep.

Want to promote sound sleep? Stick to a sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a warm shower, and pay attention to bedroom light levels.

Want to upgrade your bedtime routine and enjoy better quality sleep? Check out our sleep hygiene guide for best practices.

9. Age

Aging comes with its own set of challenges, and one of these challenges is trouble sleeping. As we get older, our sleep patterns change, but does this mean we need or deserve less sleep? Not at all!

Sleep is key to survival, and it's directly connected to our well-being. Sadly, insomnia and other sleep disorders are common in the elderly. There could be a number of reasons why the elderly get fragmented sleep, and researchers believe the following play a role:

  • Chronic pain
  • Certain medications
  • Worry, stress, or grief
  • Too much downtime (this makes it harder to be tired enough to sleep)
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Circadian rhythm disturbances
  • Restless leg syndrome

Keep in mind that poor sleep isn't a normal part of aging. Whatever your age, a good night's sleep is possible, and it starts with understanding sleep, and your body.

10. Medications

Here's the thing: Certain medications can and do disrupt sleep.

Antidepressants, beta-blockers, statins, and antihistamines are some of the common medications that may be to blame for your nighttime awakenings.

If medications are the reason behind your sleeplessness, talk to a health professional and see what other safe alternatives there are.

Does Waking Up Every Hour Count As Insomnia?

Not necessarily. For some people, insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall asleep. Others have trouble staying asleep. For instance, they may sleep for two or three hours, but can't get back to sleep once they're up.

This is different from waking up throughout the night as you're able to fall asleep initially. However, you frequently wake up and struggle to get back to sleep.

Solutions: How to Get Back to Bed Fast

Thanks for sticking with us! That was a lot of information to register. Now that you know all the things that disrupt your sleep cycle, let's learn about all the ways you can fall asleep and stay asleep. And the best part? They're natural.

1. Use the Military Method

If you've been struggling with your sleep then trying the military sleep method may help. And no, you don't have to serve in the military to enjoy this benefit!

So, what exactly is this method? This method is designed to help you fall asleep fast. Here are the steps:

  • Relax your face. Focus on each part of your face muscles (jaw, cheeks, mouth, tongue, eyes, etc), and allow the muscles to soften.
  • As you breathe slowly and deeply, drop the tension in your shoulders and hands. Feel yourself sinking into your bed.
  • Continue to breathe deeply, and as you exhale, relax your chest.
  • Next, relax your legs and sink them into your bed. Start with your right thigh all the way to your foot. Then repeat the process for your left leg.
  • Now that all the tension in these different parts has dropped, your body should feel relaxed and heavy.
  • Lastly, try to clear your mind. If you struggle to do this, think of something relaxing and hold this image in your head. This is called visualization.

According to its creator, using this method will help you fall asleep in 120 seconds (2 minutes) or less. Yep, you read that right. Ready, set, sleep!

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation or PMR is a practice that's designed to help you relax your body and mind at bedtime. The practice involves tensing 16 muscle groups before relaxing them again.

The muscle groups are the hands, wrists, and forearms, biceps, shoulders, forehead, around the eyes and nose, cheeks and jaw, around the mouth, back of the neck, front of the neck, chest, back, stomach, hips, and buttocks, thighs, and lower legs.

According to the Sleep Foundation, here's how you should perform the practice:

  • Breathe in and tense the first group of muscles for 5-10 seconds.
  • Breathe out and quickly relax the muscles in that group.
  • Stay relaxed for 10-20 seconds before moving to the next muscle group.

Do this as you lie in bed, and repeat the process for all 16 muscle groups. As all these muscles start to relax, you should be able to gradually drift off to sleep.

3. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method

Unlike the muscle relaxing approach, this 4-7-8 method is all about your breathing. Founded by Dr. Andrew Weil, this exercise is about conscious breathing. These are the steps:

  • Breathe deeply for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Slowly release the breath for 8 seconds

Repeat these steps as many times as you need. Whether you feel anxious, stressed, or simply can't get back to sleep, this method of breathing directs your nervous system to relax.

4. Visualization

When you're desperate to sleep, the last thing you want to do is visualize anything! But this approach, known as guided imagery, uses the power of your mind to help you visualize peaceful and soothing images.

Visualizing soothing places and sounds can help you get a good night's sleep. If you want to give this approach a try, there are plenty of audios online to help you relax, and eventually, sleep.

5. Stay Off Your Phone

You probably already know that using your phone isn't a good idea before bed. But did you know that the blue light from your smartphone decreases your body's natural production of melatonin? This is the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.

Exposure to blue light prevents you from winding down as your body isn't producing enough of this key hormone. But blue light doesn't only rob you of sleep. It's also linked to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. More reasons to reduce nighttime use of your phone!

Improve Your Sleep Quality With Sandland Sleep

mental health counselor helps with trouble sleeping

There's nothing worse than wanting to stay asleep, but not being able to. The struggle is real, but thankfully, so are our natural sleep solutions.

If you've been dreaming about a good night's sleep, dream no more. Our fall asleep tablets will help you drift off to sleep within minutes. And our stay asleep tablets will help you sleep soundly for a full 8 hours.

Are we for real? Yep. Formulated with plant extracts such as peppermint, low-dose melatonin, and all-natural hemp extract, our products work seamlessly by sending natural signals to your body when it's time to sleep. And just like that, you can get the deep sleep you deserve.

Is it normal to wake up every hour when pregnant?

Sleeping for two has its challenges, and pregnancy can disrupt sleep. However, while there's something known as pregnancy insomnia, it's not normal to wake up every hour when pregnant.

How can I stop waking up every hour?

Prioritize sleep, stick to a sleep schedule, practice good sleep hygiene, and work with your internal clock. We can all use extra help and natural sleep aids like ours can help you sleep soundly.

Can anxiety cause you to wake up every hour?

Unfortunately, yes. Anxiety has a bidirectional relationship with sleep. This means that your anxiety could be the reason why you keep waking up, or you have anxiety because you keep waking up.

Written by Sandland Editorial Team

Our internal editorial team has put together research on key topics including product formulation, efficacy studies, and sleep advice.

Here's What Really Happens When You Only Get 4 Hours of Sleep

Seven to nine hours is the recommended sleep time for the average adult. But why is it that people get less than six hours of sleep and seem to end up perfectly fine? What really happens when you only get 4 hours of sleep? 

Why Do I Toss and Turn All Night?  

If you've ever wondered why you toss and turn all night, you may be peeved to find out that the answer isn't straightforward. While practicing good sleep hygiene can help us tackle sleep concerns, we may have to dig a little deeper to find out what's causing restless sleep so that we can finally enjoy a restful sleep.