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I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. What can I do?
Waking up in the middle of the night is called sleep maintenance insomnia, and it's a common problem. Midsleep awakenings often occur during periods of stress. Over-the-counter sleep aids rarely offer significant help for this problem.
To help stay asleep through the night, try some of these strategies to relieve insomnia:
In some cases, insomnia is caused by a medical condition such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or chronic pain or by a mental health disorder such as depression. Treatment for one of these underlying conditions may be necessary for insomnia to get better. Also, treating insomnia may help depression symptoms improve faster.
If you keep having sleep problems, talk to your doctor. To determine the cause and best treatment for insomnia, you may need to see a sleep specialist. Your doctor may prescribe medication and have you try other strategies to get your sleep pattern back on track.
Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.
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