“Everyone awakens briefly in the middle of the night multiple times ― anywhere from five to seven times ― between sleep cycles,” said Shelby Harris, a licensed psychologist and board-certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist in Westchester, New York, and author of ”The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without Relying on Medication.” “It is totally normal followed by a quick return to sleep usually with amnesia for the awakening.”
But waking up frequently at the same time in the middle of the night is different, and it can mess up your sleep cycles. “When sleep isn’t consolidated, one can feel tired, sleepy and foggy during the daytime hours, in addition to getting less sleep at night and disrupting your depth of sleep,” Harris said.
“People wake up in the night for many potential reasons but some are quite common,” said Mark Aloia, global lead for behavior change at Philips Healthcare.
Among these reasons include insomnia (Aloia said about 80% of people with insomnia have awakenings at both the beginning and middle of the night) and obstructive sleep apnea, which is characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep that may cause someone to wake up in the middle of the night. It’s important to get these conditions ruled out by a doctor if you find yourself waking up at the same time in the middle of the night ― not just for your sleep’s sake but your overall health.