8 Interesting Reasons Why You Are Awake in the Night

Updated on March 4th, 2020
reasons behind sleeplessness

Remember those long, sleepless nights you spent tossing and turning in the bed and watching the clock ticking?

All of us have experienced sleeplessness at some point in our lives. But is it Insomnia? Every sleep disorder not necessarily is that.

Getting an adequate night’s sleep is vital for our health; however, millions of people in the US suffer from sleeplessness. Sleeplessness can have a disastrous impact on our physical, social, and emotional lives.

One in 10 Americans has chronic insomnia, while three in ten experience sleeplessness.

The cause of sleeplessness tends to vary from one person to another. It could be due to high stress at work, relationship problems, studies, financial loss, pain, or illness. Also, over-exposure to mobile phones, televisions, and computers before going to bed tends to enhance our alertness and suppress the release of the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin.

Let us walk through this article to figure out the top surprising reasons why you are awake in the night.

Fast Facts About the Importance of Sleep

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We have compiled this list of the most exciting and shocking fast facts about the importance of sleep.

  • Sleeplessness is not always Insomnia
  • Only 21% of people in the US get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Poor sleep can lead to unintended weight gain.
  • People with disturbed sleep are more likely to suffer from stroke and heart diseases.
  • Sleep restriction can affect your blood sugar and reduce insulin sensitivity.
  • Newborns sleep around 15 – 16 hours a day.
  • Disturbed sleep can affect your memory.

8 Reasons Behind Sleeplessness

Now that we understand how important sleep can be for our health and general wellness let us look at the 8 reasons why you have disturbed sleep.

1. You are Depressed


More than 50% of Americans suffer from sleeplessness due to depression, stress, and anxiety(1). Depression can affect both the duration and quality of your sleep. The impact of depression on your sleep can have extreme effects.

People with depression may find themselves fatigued and feeling sleepy all day long. They may suffer from acute insomnia wherein they can’t get a wink’s shuteye whatsoever. A common symptom of disturbed sleep due to depression is to find yourself waking up at midnight, night after night.

[Read: Natural Remedies for Depression]

2. You are Doing Too Much Before Going to Bed

As per a poll conducted by the US National Sleep Foundation, every individual, before going to sleep, keeps themselves busy. Around 60% of us do our regular household chores, 36% do activities with other members of their family, 37% take care of their children, 21% do tasks related to their profession, and 36% spend their time on the internet.

Working right up till going to bed does not allow you to wind down and make your body ready for sleep.

Ideally, you should take the 60 to 90 minutes before going to sleep for transitioning from the individual-who-can-do-everything to the individual-who-can-sleep. Take a bath, read a book – the idea is to make yourself feel relaxed.

3. Your Hormones are Not Balanced

Women undergo hormonal changes, mood swings, and pain during menstruation(2), leading to disturbed sleep.

Similarly, the pregnancy period is also associated with disturbed sleep. With an increase in the hormone called progesterone, women are likely to wake up for several visits to the washroom during their first trimester of pregnancy. Also, the size of their abdomen causes considerable discomfort and disturbance in sleep during the third trimester.

Later during the perimenopause, which is a stage before menopause, a drop in the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormone may lead to a sleep disorder.

[Read: Balance Hormones Naturally]

4. You are a Smoker

Smoking Man
Image: ShutterStock

Another reason to kick the butt? Smokers are more likely to suffer from severe sleep deprivation as compared to non-smokers. That horrid nicotine acts as a stimulant that keeps you awake for a longer period, and as heavy smokers tend to experience the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal during the night – it affects your sleep even more.

Numerous studies have concluded that smoking has a severe negative effect on your overall sleep duration and the quality of sleep.

  • Each cigarette smoked corresponds to 1.2 minutes of lost sleep.
  • A regular smoker takes longer to fall asleep, has reduced slow-wave deep sleep, and spends less time asleep as compared to a non-smoker.

[Read: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking]

5. You are Taking that Power Nap Too Late in the Day

You should be careful while taking a nap during the day. While taking a nap is an excellent way to catch up on your sleep and recharge yourself, taking it too close to bedtime may lead to disturbed sleep at night. However, if you can’t go well without a nap, keep it no more than half an hour in the early afternoon.

Be cautious while binge-watching TV as you might catch some slumber. If it is near bedtime, prefer going to bed. If it is early evening, get up and engage yourself in some activity.

6. Your Sleeping Hours Matter a Lot

We generally reward ourselves for a hard week at the office by having an extended sleep on Sunday morning. Though it is a small and well-deserved reward, it is big enough to disrupt your sleep clock. If you sleep in late Sunday morning, you will fail to fall asleep on Sunday night. As a result, you will wake up with what we call the Monday blues – feeling tired and unwilling to go to work.

7. You are Addicted to Technology

Undoubtedly, every app aims to simplify our lives; however, most of these apps tend to carry us into the world of sleeplessness.

While being able to monitor your home and interact with your children back home from your office is a blessing for working parents, permitting the office hours to seep into your personal time does no good. Therefore, we should draw a line between the two things. Set aside a couple of hours a day to read and reply to your business emails and avoid all those after 7 pm cellphone calls from the office.

And remember not to check your inbox right before going to bed.

8. You are Consuming Too Much Caffeine


Some of us need five to six extra-large lattes to get through the day. Though coffee helps us concentrate better to improve performance at work, it impacts your sleep to keeps you up at night.

Drinking tea or coffee in the late evening hours is even worse since it tends to affect our normal REM sleep, making you feel even more tired.

Prefer decaf beverages after dinner and take no more than three 8 oz. dosages of caffeine a day to make sure your addiction to coffee does not keep you awake at night.

A good night’s sleep is essential for your health and general wellness. It is just as important as exercising and eating healthy food.

Unfortunately, today’s lifestyle is harming our natural sleep patterns. Also, the quality of our sleep has decreased significantly.

Hope these top 8 reasons give you an insight on disturbed sleep. However, if you suffer from sleeplessness that lasts for one month or more, it is recommended that you consult a registered medical practitioner for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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