Lightning Round: Sleep Interruptions

May 17, 2018 All posts Jared Sebastian

Has something been keeping you from getting your best sleep? Unsure of what you can do to fix it? We’ve listed out the most common sleep interruptions here along with some possible solutions, for your reference.

Lightning Round: Sleep Interruptions


Parent

So you’re a parent and your kid(s) interrupt your sleep. Now, this one falls under the slightly uncontrollables of sleep: they’re your kids, after all! If you find your child (or children) are making their way into your room at night, there are many ways of handling this, and no one right way. You might end up spending a few years with a small human kicking, punching, and cuddling you through the night. You might take up stricter measures to keep kids sleeping in their own beds. Follow your intuition: they’re your kids and you’ll know what is best.

  • Do: Consider how your sleeping arrangements are impacting the quality of both your sleep and your kiddo’s sleep and daytime wellbeing.

  • Don’t: Feel guilty about the decision you ultimately make.

If you’re feeling exhausted and frustrated, your pediatrician or a certified childhood sleep specialist can provide help and solutions.


Lightning Round: Sleep Interruptions


Pets

Your four-legged friend sleeping in your bed can be a sensitive topic. You can find research both supporting and advising against the practice, but in the end, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of getting sleep and snuggling with your pet.

  • Do: Consider how your sleeping arrangements are impacting the quality of your sleep and daytime wellbeing.

If your pet is waking you up multiple times a night and getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, it may be time to evaluate moving your pet to their own bed at night, if only for a week to try it out. Your sleep will likely benefit.

Partner

Snoring partners can be a real and trying challenge—not to mention a health concern for you both! Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, a real and dangerous medical condition, and partners of snorers report impaired sleep quality, frequent wakeups, and some even report hearing loss in the ear closest to the snorer. If your partner is a snorer, here’s a few ideas for you:

  • Do:

    • Try earplugs or a white noise machine. These simple bedroom additions may help alleviate some of the noise from a partner (though we realize not the most practical solution for parents of kids to wear earplugs).

    • Check out a wedge pillow or an adjustable base: these products can open up the airwave to reduce snoring.

    • Consider taking a “sleep vacation” from your partner for a week and test out sleeping in a different room (if this is an option) to determine if your daytime alertness or mood benefits. This is a telling test if a partner’s snoring is playing a bigger role in the relationship than either of you realize.

    • Encourage a trip to a sleep doctor for your partner if you notice their snoring results in gasping for air—sleep apnea is a dangerous and under-diagnosed condition where snorers actually stop breathing at multiple points throughout the night. A surprising amount of sleep apnea patients end up diagnosed because a partner said something.

  • Don’t:

    • Avoid having these conversations late at night. It can be a sensitive topic and you’ll do both of you a favor to save it for the daytime.

    • Don’t brush off symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep is too important; err on the side of seeking a medical opinion if you’re unsure.

Lightning Round: Sleep Interruptions


Bathroom

Waking up at night for a bathroom trip? This is pretty normal and nothing to be overly concerned about, but there are things you can do to reduce the chances of waking up for a bathroom break.

  • Do:

    • Evaluate how much liquid you’re consuming before bed.

    • Try tapering off liquids an hour before bedtime.

    • Be mindful that as we age, midnight bathroom trips can increase in occurrence.

    • Seek medical attention if you find you’re waking up every three hours or less to use the bathroom. This could be a sign of a larger issue.

  • Don’t:

    • Don’t drink coffee, soda, or tea close to bedtime: they act as a diuretic and will increase your urge to use the bathroom.

    • Don’t turn on a bunch of lights for nighttime bathroom trips. Consider adding a nightlight in the hall or bathroom to guide your way if it’s a frequent event.

Sometimes we realize we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but only after we’ve woken up from an unrelated stimulus (whether it is noise, light, or temperature). Attending to some of our other bedroom environmental details may help us bypass these nighttime wakeups in the first place.

Happy sleeping!