Many of us wake up intermittently in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and endure a “witching hour” of wakefulness.
The most likely causes of this are changes in your environment, stress or age.
Going way back into our evolutionary pasts, we could only sleep well if we felt safe and secure. And the same applies today - anything that threatens our feelings of safety and security will disturb our sleep.
Actually, we all wake very briefly at the end of each of our sleep cycles, but usually are blissfully unaware. It’s just a case of rolling over and drifting back to sleep most of the time. But if something is worrying you or your attention is seized by something going on in the environment around you, you will become more awake at that point.
Changes to the nervous system and hormones as we get older also mean that as we progress through adulthood, our sleep becomes progressively lighter and more fragmented. Which means we wake up more and find it harder to get back to sleep. Bummer.
Top tip for a great night’s sleep: Try to make your bedroom feel isolated, comfortable, safe and secure. (And remember to lock the back door / turn the oven off etc. etc.)