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I wake up early and cannot sleep: why is this happening and what to do about it


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It is still dark outside the window, the alarm clock is far away, and you are lying and cannot close your eyes – this state is familiar to many. Waking up too early is a bigger problem than it seems. It does not allow you to fully rest during the night, disrupts sleep and wakefulness, and causes irritability and bad mood during the day. The life hacker figured out why this can happen and how to deal with it.

What early awakening can lead to

Waking up two to three hours before the alarm is not only frustrating but can cause Chronic fatigue and increased fatigue, nervousness, decreased performance, and distraction.

Periodic sleep deprivation is harmful to both mental and physical health. Here is an incomplete list of The effects of going more than 24 hours without Sleep its negative effects:

  • increased appetite and development of obesity;
  • violation of the mechanisms of immune defense;
  • increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • increased risk of developing mental illness Sleep Health: An Opportunity for Public Health to Address Health Equity;
  • reduced likelihood of conceiving a child.

Therefore, you should be on your guard if you regularly began to wake up without an alarm clock at dawn.

What to do if you are already awake and cannot sleep

If you wake up too early and are trying to sleep again, the following may help you :

7 Ways to Get Back to Sleep advice:

  • Try not to open your eyes. Don’t look at your watch. Use a mask if it’s too light in the morning. The less you react to the world around you, the faster you will fall asleep again.
  • Think about Sleep and rest and try to relax.
  • If possible, eliminate all sources of noise and light. They may be keeping you awake.
  • Go to the toilet if you feel the need. She still won’t let you fall asleep. You have to get out from under a warm blanket, but this is better than lying and enduring, not leaving yourself even a chance to fall asleep again.

What reasons can cause early awakening

Waking up early can be caused by a variety of reasons, and each requires a different approach.

1.Features of the body.

How much we sleep depends on circadian rhythms – the internal biological clock of our body. They are individual for each person. It is believed that the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Like the duration of Sleep, the optimal time to fall asleep, each person has his own. For example, suppose your eyes stick together at ten in the evening, and 7 hours of sleep is enough for your body. In that case, it is not surprising that you wake up at five in the morning. Perhaps you just slept well.

What to do

Suppose your circadian rhythms aren’t bothering you and you’re quite happy with getting up early. In that case, there’s nothing to worry about … But if you think you fall asleep too early, then you can try to shift the time of going to bed. Start small: go to bed 15-30 minutes later than usual. After some time, when the body gets used to it, try adding the same amount of time. This way you can gradually fall asleep at your preferred time and without consequences for the body.

2.Unfavorable conditions for Sleep.

Often, normal and healthy Sleep is interfered with by the conditions in the bedroom. For example, your room may be too hot or cold. At night, the body temperature drops: this signals the body that it is time to sleep. But if the room is too warm (for example, after sunrise), the body may decide it is time to wake up.

The optimum air temperature in the bedroom is 19–22 ° С.

Also, the bedroom may have too much light, too noisy, or not enough oxygen. Another reason for waking up early may be too warm sleepwear or non-breathable bedding.

What to do

There are a number of sleep hygiene guidelines that aim to create a good night’s sleep environment. Here are some of them.

  • Do not drag smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets with screens to bed – their glow interferes with circadian rhythms.
  • Make Too early to get up, too late to get back to sleep so that the bedroom is dark and quiet so that no external stimuli bother you, and the bed is pleasant and comfortable. And remember: this is a place for Sleep and sex, not for work, eating, or anything else.
  • Ventilate the room before bed.
  • Try to wear breathable clothing for sleeping. There is also research that wearing socks can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often.

3.Sleep disorders.

Waking up early can also be one form of insomnia. It stands along with such ailment symptoms as difficulty falling asleep, a heavy rise in the morning, and restless Sleep. Most often, middle-aged and older people face this problem.

Another sleep disorder that causes you to wake up prematurely can be apnea. This is a condition when a person stops breathing during sleep. In addition to early awakening, it can be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • loud, chronic snoring ;
  • headaches in the morning;
  • high blood pressure;
  • feeling very tired during the daytime;
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning.

What to do

Physiological and lifestyle factors often cause sleep disturbances. Here are some tips 

  • If you suspect you have apnea, ask your partner if you are not sleeping alone if he or she noticed any symptoms of this disorder – snoring, restless sleep, shortness of breath.
  • See a specialist: a therapist, neurologist, or somnologist. It will help you understand what is causing your insomnia. You may be referred for sleep screening and treatment. Do not take sleeping pills without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Eat right.
  • Cut back on alcohol or stop drinking altogether. As a stimulant, it does not act immediately, but some time after use. Therefore, alcohol will help you fall asleep quickly, but it can also lead to early awakening. The nicotine contained in tobacco also negatively affects the mechanisms of falling asleep and waking up.
  • Limit coffee, tea, and chocolate before bed. Caffeine is also a stimulant that can disrupt circadian rhythms.
  • To not get up to the toilet at four in the morning, after which it is difficult to fall asleep, try not to drink a lot of fluids at night.
  • Install A quiet and relaxing ritual before bed. For example, take a warm shower or listen to relaxing music.
  • Exercise regularly sports. But the loads should not be excessive. And exercise in the evening, shortly before bedtime, is not worth it.

4.Some diseases.

Insomnia may cause health problems: A person can also wake up at the wrong time because of them. Among them:

  • problems with the thyroid and hormonal disorders;
  • arthritis, neuropathic and other chronic pain;
  • allergies or asthma;
  • problems with the gastrointestinal tract;
  • neurological diseases.

What to do

In this case, only contacting a doctor and treating the detected disease can help. Do not postpone your visit to the doctor if, in addition to sleep disturbances, you notice other symptoms, for example, pains that persist for several days (headaches or in the body) or worsening of a cold in the morning.

5.Psychological problems.

Mental health is also an important factor in influencing Sleep. In a state of stress or anxiety, the heartbeat increases, the temperature rises, the brain centers responsible for alertness are activated, and the hormone cortisol is produced. The mind in this state jumps from one thought to another.

Experiences related to work, family problems, or other reasons may cause a feeling of anxiety that occurs at the most inopportune moments. All this violates our internal mechanisms of wakefulness and sleep: a person can wake up both in the middle of the night and early in the morning.

A clear sign of such a sleep disorder is vigor, and fast brain work immediately after waking up.

What to do

A good remedy for stress-related insomnia is a course of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Also, with anxiety, as a cause of poor sleep, you can fight with medications as directed by a doctor. A good solution would be to combine medication with a visit to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Help to overcome anxiety, relaxation and mindfulness techniques, and meditation. The key is not to ignore stress. It is better to fight him right now and not at four o’clock in the morning when worried thoughts wake you up.

6.Age changes.

Although our internal chronotypes are fairly stable, they gradually change throughout life… People over 65 years old, unlike younger ones, have enough 6-7 hours to get enough sleep. This is due to age-related changes in resting phases: the number of deep sleep stages decreases over time… And this leads to the fact that a person wakes up more often due to noise, light, or touch.

Also, in old age, the risk of developing insomnia or apnea increases. This is because the circadian sleep signaling – the mechanism that tells our bodies when to sleep and when to stay awake – diminishes over time.

In addition, sleep problems in women can appear during the transition to menopause. Up to 61% of women complain of insomnia during this period. Hot flashes and sweating caused by fluctuations in the hormone estrogen in the body interfere with Sleep and may even wake you up.

What to do

Cognitive-behavioral therapy well helps in the fight against insomnia and the elderly. It allows you to adjust your sleep time and improve its quality.

It helps to get rid of the side effects of menopause estrogen replacement therapy – taking hormonal drugs. An alternative is to take foods and supplements high in calcium, vitamin D, or soy.

7.Pregnancy.

During pregnancy in a woman’s body, especially in the early and late stages, significant changes occur. For example, it increases Body temperature. This can cause sleep problems, including early awakening. It can also be caused by malaise bouts (nausea and vomiting), abdominal discomfort, chest pain, vivid dreams, and more frequent urge to use the toilet.

What to do

All of the above symptoms and ailments, as well as lack of Sleep in the first months of pregnancy, are considered a normal occurrence. Sleep problems caused by pregnancy go away after the birth of the child. You just need to adhere to the daily routine if possible. But if you feel that you are developing symptoms of postpartum depression, seek professional help.

Sleep is an important part of life, on which our health and psychological state depend. Therefore, any problems with Sleep are a reason to be wary. If you have been suffering from insomnia or early awakening for more than a month, see your doctor.

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