Moody, listless, and groggy in the morning? Perhaps you’re getting Junk Sleep.

Not every middle-of-the-night pillow adjustment counts as Junk Sleep — it’s normal to awaken every so often.

"Humans were designed to wake up occasionally at night,” says neurologist and advisor and “Sleep Solution" author Dr. Chris Winter. “That's part of normal sleep and nothing to be alarmed about.” The goal is to spend about 85% of the time you’re in bed actually sleeping — any more, and you’re probably compensating for lack of sleep; any less, and you’re likely not getting enough sleep. And in those cases, sleep disruptors could be to blame for junk sleep.

Sleep disruptors can prevent your ability to complete sleep cycles. Without truly restorative rest over time, research points to increased risk of more serious health issues, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

“If you feel these awakenings are becoming more frequent, more disruptive, and leading to higher amounts of sleepiness during the day, it may be time to address them,” Winter adds.

If you’re suffering from sleep disruptions, there is some good news: Most sleep disruptors can be addressed with effective, sleep-restoring solutions.

Read on to learn 14 of the most common reasons Americans wake up in the night. Plus, see expert-approved solutions for each disruption that can help ensure you get quality rest.

Sleepscore Labs asked 35,000 people about what wakes them up and found that women report more disruptions in their sleep than men. We broke down what those disruptors were and how they change over time.
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Woman experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.
Shifting hormone levels, health issues, and medications can all cause internal temperature fluctuations that have nothing to do with the thermostat setting. Common solutions can involve lifestyle changes, cooling mattresses, and breathable fabrics.
Woman drinking water late at night
While one middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom isn’t cause for alarm, if a full bladder regularly wakes you up in the night, then “nature calling” is a sleep disruptor. Work toward lessening bathroom visits and minimizing light and movement once you are awake.
For some of us, four-legged family members are non-negotiable bedfellows. That said, their furry faces and paws can wake us up in the middle of the night. Here's how to help four- and two-legged pals get better sleep — whether sharing a bed or separating sleep spaces.
A well-rested kiddo means a well-rested parent. Otherwise, little ones can cause big disruptions overnight. Routines are key for helping kids set good life-long sleep habits that ward off tantrums, stall tactics, and nightmares.
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If you experience acid reflux or GERD, chances are it worsens when you lie down — maybe it even wakes you up. Lifestyle and dietary changes can help prevent that burning sensation, and the right products can help too.
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Ever feel like allergies flare up when you’re trying to wind down? It’s not your imagination: Levels of histamine, your body’s response to allergens, rise at night and peak at morning. That’s why allergy symptoms can ruin your sleep. Allergy-proofing your sleep space can curb these and help with the common cold, too.
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