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Question
Posted by: Garfield | 2009/11/11

3 am wake up!!

Hi CS!

Hope you are doing well on this ' hump'  Wednesday.

I have a bit of a strange question for you ... why is it that when I am really stressed out I wake up between 3am and 4 am?

Last night I took a sleeping tablet &  I still woke up at 3am - wide awake.

This happens regardless of what time I go to sleep at or howw much or how little sleep I had the night before.

Any thoughts for me on this?

Thanks again CS

Garfield

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Gar,
I hadn't realized the hump was compulsory. Anyhoo
The early wakening can be a feature of Depression, ( just as difficulty in getting off to sleep is more often related to anxiety ) ; but it's interesting that you find this unrelated to when you go to bed / sleep. Sleep includes different phases or levels, and a particular structure, such that one moves through different levels of sleep at different times, and this can be influenced by other body rhythms, including a host of different hormonal and chemica; rhythms on one's body 24-hour clock. So one may be more ready to awake at certain times in the cycling, and less ready at others. And one may be more fuzzy-headed if awoken at some times rather than at others. In a sleep lab, monitoring things like EEG ( which measures tiny electrical activities of the brain ) one can get a clearer picture of an individual's sleep architecture, and potentially understand better how they sleep and wake as they do. Some of the sleep rhythms vary according to the time since one fell asleep, but one goes through a number of cycles in one night.
Various medications also influence these phases. Some, for instance, reduce the amount of dreaming sleep one has, and one needs a certain amount of that.

Most sleeping pills are designed to get you to sleep ; the contents could be adjusted to make you sleep longer, but at the cost of a much higher incidence of over-sleeping and of waking with a distinct hangover, which, as its unpleasant and adversely affects driving, etc., is worth avoiding.
Maria's approach is instructive - rather than lie there tossing and turning and fretting about NOt sleeping, it's best to get up and do something useful, peaceful and slightly boring, until one again feels drowsy, and then go back to bed.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: Garfield | 2009/11/11

I hear you Maria!

Wonder why it is always the same time? I mean why 3am  why not 2am or 4am or even 4:30 am?!

Reply to Garfield
Posted by: Maria | 2009/11/11

Welcome to the club Garfield! It' s as if stress triggers a little clock in your brain that just has to ring at that early hour. Sleeping pills don' t keep me asleep either, they are mostly helpful for falling asleep. When I' m really wide awake that early I play with the cats, fold laundry, surf the net, study... until I feel sleepy again and then I go back to bed. I also find that I become extremely sensitive to noises that would not normally bother me. My husband' s breathing, my cat' s snoring, the wind blowing all conspire to keep me awake. Earplugs help.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/11/11

Hi Gar,
I hadn't realized the hump was compulsory. Anyhoo
The early wakening can be a feature of Depression, ( just as difficulty in getting off to sleep is more often related to anxiety ) ; but it's interesting that you find this unrelated to when you go to bed / sleep. Sleep includes different phases or levels, and a particular structure, such that one moves through different levels of sleep at different times, and this can be influenced by other body rhythms, including a host of different hormonal and chemica; rhythms on one's body 24-hour clock. So one may be more ready to awake at certain times in the cycling, and less ready at others. And one may be more fuzzy-headed if awoken at some times rather than at others. In a sleep lab, monitoring things like EEG ( which measures tiny electrical activities of the brain ) one can get a clearer picture of an individual's sleep architecture, and potentially understand better how they sleep and wake as they do. Some of the sleep rhythms vary according to the time since one fell asleep, but one goes through a number of cycles in one night.
Various medications also influence these phases. Some, for instance, reduce the amount of dreaming sleep one has, and one needs a certain amount of that.

Most sleeping pills are designed to get you to sleep ; the contents could be adjusted to make you sleep longer, but at the cost of a much higher incidence of over-sleeping and of waking with a distinct hangover, which, as its unpleasant and adversely affects driving, etc., is worth avoiding.
Maria's approach is instructive - rather than lie there tossing and turning and fretting about NOt sleeping, it's best to get up and do something useful, peaceful and slightly boring, until one again feels drowsy, and then go back to bed.

Reply to cybershrink

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