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8 min

Nocturnal awakenings: what to do to preserve your sleep?

After an intense day, there is nothing better than wrapping yourself in your duvet, closing your eyes and sinking into the arms of Morpheus !

And what's worse than waking up after only a few hours of sleep, without knowing why, and trying everything to get back to sleep, without success? For our sleep to be restorative, it is essential that it is not interrupted by more or less long breaks : yes, we are talking about nocturnal awakenings .

Find out all the details in our article, including tips and remedies for quality sleep , without interruptions or interference.

nocturnal awakenings

Nocturnal awakenings: what is it?

When do we talk about nocturnal awakenings?

We speak of nocturnal awakenings in the case of nights dotted with interruptions of sleep , often causing, in the morning, the impression of not having slept at all. A nighttime awakening may consist of just a few minutes or may require an extended period of time before returning to sleep.


Typically, nocturnal awakenings occur after the first hours after falling asleep, often from 3 a.m., when sleep becomes lighter and internal or external causes may intervene.


However, sleep interruptions are not always noticeable: without realizing it, it is common to experience unconscious micro-arousals during the night.


For example, in people suffering from breathing problems during sleep, this causes an almost imperceptible fragmentation of sleep.

What are the causes ?

There are a wide range of potential causes of nighttime awakenings :

  • Sleep disorders , for example the breathing disorders already mentioned;
  • Health problems ;
  • The use of certain medications that may interfere with sleep;
  • Stress in personal or professional life;
  • Caring for infants or young children who wake during the night;
  • Age : older people tend to spend more time in light sleep to the detriment of deep sleep, which wakes them up more easily, leading to more disturbances;
  • Changes in daylight exposure can affect the circadian rhythm and make continuous sleep difficult (examples: jet lag after intercontinental travel or night shift work);
  • Lifestyle: polyphasic sleep (divided into several phases), excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine and the use of electronic devices in bed;
  • Too bright light or excessive noise in the bedroom, including a partner's snoring.

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What is the impact of waking up at night on physical and mental well-being?

The consequences of frequent nighttime awakenings have negative effects not only on the quality of sleep , but also on many aspects of one's well-being.


The result of insufficient or poor quality rest is excessive daytime sleepiness. The latter can reduce performance at school or work and increase the risk of accidents while driving or using machines. Even when total sleep duration is not affected, nighttime awakenings have important effects on brain function , physical vitality , and emotional well-being .


Several studies have confirmed the importance of sleep continuity for thinking, memory and decision-making. In particular, links have been established between repeated awakenings during sleep and the following phenomena:

  • Mood disorders ;
  • Fatigue and lack of energy;
  • Decreased reactivity and slowing of thinking;
  • Reduced ability to concentrate and attention;
  • Decreased memory ;
  • Increased sensitivity to pain after just two nights of interrupted sleep.


These problems worsen following consecutive days of interrupted sleep, suggesting that the effect may build up over time. And this, whatever our age: the links between poor sleep and cognitive and emotional disorders begin in childhood.

How to prevent nighttime awakenings?

First of all, if you haven't already done so, we recommend that you read our article 8 tips for sleeping well ! In order to offer you new ideas, we will discuss other avenues here. In most cases, sleep hygiene is a central part of preventing and treating nighttime awakenings.


By this we mean taking care of your environment so that it is ideal for relaxation, and correcting inappropriate daily habits. This has implications for the factors that influence both falling asleep and maintaining sleep, making it easier to achieve continuous nighttime rest.

Habits to prevent nighttime awakenings

  • Follow a consistent routine before going to bed: A regular schedule can create the right mindset for a good night's sleep;
  • Implement strategies to deal with and reduce stress and release tension, for example by taking a warm bath , reading or stretching in silence, breathing deeply;
  • Try herbal infusions: chamomile, valerian, lavender, lemon balm are particularly indicated if waking up is linked to stress or digestive difficulties;
  • Why not take food supplements that promote relaxation and sleep: in our dedicated article, you will find a list of 7 food supplements to sleep well .


The good news ? Our Sleep Formula has them all! Made from 100% natural ingredients, we have designed it to help you relax and get restful sleep , without the risk of addiction typical of classic sleeping pills.

Create an environment conducive to good sleep

To facilitate uninterrupted sleep, eliminate as many possible sources of sleep disruption from the bedroom as possible:

  • Use blackout curtains and, if necessary, a sleep mask to avoid being disturbed by excess light;
  • Wear earplugs or use a white noise machine;
  • Make sure the mattress, pillows, blankets and sheets are comfortable.

How to get back to sleep after waking up at night?

  • Avoid turning on lights when you wake up in the middle of the night: exposure to light sources affects our biological clock;

  • Try to focus on pleasant, positive thoughts , such as a memory of a trip or a serene landscape;

  • If counting sheep or watching the time is counterproductive, focus on your breathing , placing a hand on your chest and paying attention to your heartbeat. Whether it is cardiac coherence or other breathing techniques for sleeping , they are extremely effective in calming down, clearing the mind and relaxing the muscles;

  • Rehabilitate your old alarm clock and leave the cell phone turned off and away from you;

  • Try playing soothing sounds, to break the absolute silence that might cause you to focus on every little noise in the room;

  • Keep a journal on your bedside table: if you feel disturbed by intrusive thoughts that prevent you from relaxing, make a list of everything that is bothering you and put it aside: you will think about it the next day with a clear head! ;

  • Write down important information every day for at least two weeks: the time you go to sleep; the time it takes to fall asleep; the number of hours of sleep; the number and frequency of nighttime awakenings; the characteristics of the evening meal; activities carried out during the day; particularly stressful events. A better understanding of the phenomenon can help you see things more clearly and find targeted solutions.

    In summary, the remedies to ensure a peaceful night's sleep exist and are easily applicable. Put these tips into practice, possibly coupled with our Sleep Formula , and you will see that waking up at night will become a distant memory!


Co-founder of NOVOMA

Passionate and expert in micro-nutrition, Lucas founded Novoma in 2012. It is with conviction that he develops food supplements with effective, carefully chosen and 100% clean active ingredients, to best meet the body's needs.

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