sleep stopped? This is what night waking depends on

Night waking is frequent, especially after the age of forty. But on what do they depend? And how do we deal with it? We asked an expert

Eugenio Spagnolo

– Milan

The SMI initials may not tell you anything. But if you suffer from nocturnal awakenings, they will become familiar to you. SMI is an acronym that science uses to identify Insomnia keep sleep (SMI), one of the most common and prevalent sleep disorders, especially after the age of 40. But what do nighttime awakenings and interrupted sleep depend on, and how can we avoid them?

Research seems to indicate that Excessive arousal states, personality traits, and changes of a physiological nature may contribute toInsomnia. Sleep plays an essential role in the development and maturation of our bodies and brains. During sleep we reinforce memory and learning processes as well as bone and muscle development. So it’s easy to imagine why over time, as our brain and body complete their maturation, these functions become less important, and so our sleep can become less profound and can accommodate more and more nocturnal awakenings,” he explains. Julia MilioliHe is a neurologist, sleep medicine expert, and author of the book Sleep guide. How to learn to sleep to live better (with Antonio Gracco and Francesca Milano, LSWR publisher).

Interrupted sleep in middle age: Blame it on anxiety?

“Besides this physiological change in sleep that generally does not cause consequences for the health of our body – continues the expert – pathological changes in quality and quantity can then develop, with serious consequences for our health and our performance during the day. We often take to bed the thoughts of the day that sometimes prevent us from falling asleep Or they wake us up at night.”

Excessive arousal, due to psychological or innate factors, is one of the main reasons for nocturnal awakening, according to several studies. Neuroimaging studies show that Higher levels of brain metabolism, due to persistent awake states, are often associated with sleep disturbances. In addition to stress markers such as norepinephrine and corticosteroid metabolites are elevated in those with insomnia, this probably reflects stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system. And the Middle age may make individuals more susceptible to the arousal effects of stress, which explains the higher prevalence of insomnia in this age group.

Insomnia waking up at night: when it depends on our behavior

“Sometimes it’s our faulty behaviors that favor the breaking up of nocturnal sleep after a certain age,” Miglioli answers. The tendency to do little physical activity during the day, which leads to less body fatigue And by accumulating less tendency to sleep, we can contribute even more to the loss of the depth of our sleep. But be careful: even intense physical activity in the evening hours can interfere with our brain’s ability to maintain a restful sleep, because to combat fatigue, our body produces stimulants that reduce the brain’s ability to relax. Also, physical exertion limits the increase in core body temperature, which impedes getting out of sleep at night.”

And what about nutrition? “yes, Diet can also negatively affect sleep at nightEvening alcohol consumption or stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can facilitate the onset of sleep disturbance, so that eating too much dinner or too late affects our sleep activity.”

Insomnia and nocturnal awakening: what to do to avoid them?

“To try to improve these aspects – recommends Dr. Miglioli – is fundamental first and foremost Stick to the rules of good sleep hygiene Try to respect the correct eating habits during the day, especially before bed, and avoid all those behaviors that hinder getting out of sleep at night, such as eating dinner late in the evening, or taking psychological stimulants or alcoholic substances in the hours before bed. Avoid exposing yourself to bright light in the hours before bed. And if, despite proper sleep hygiene, the problem persists, it is very likely that sleep illnesses have developed affecting these awakenings and therefore should be framed and treated in a specialized setting, by contacting a center or a sleep medicine clinic.”

In fact, there can be multiple causes of nocturnal awakening: evaluation of patients who are awake during sleep can reveal a respiratory disorder of which the patient himself is not aware. Sleep Apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome. But only a comprehensive examination can tell if this is the case and prove treatment.

Waking up in the night: what they depend on them

Curiosity: According to a study on sleep, the main self-reported causes of nocturnal awakening are 4 and they include:

  • The need to empty the bladder (75%). Spontaneous awakening, feeling thirsty, hearing noises (30-40%).
  • Disorders in children or those who sleep together or pain (10-20%).
  • Hunger or breathing problems (5%).

Phil Schwartz

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