Why You Are Awake at 3:00 a.m.

by | May 30, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

Hello Lovelies,

My eyes flutter open. I orient myself as I roll my head toward the soft light from the bedside clock. Squinting at the dial is no surprise when I read 3:20 a.m. Why am I awake at 3:00 a.m. for the third time this week?

How is this possible? I was exhausted when I crawled into bed after a typical non-stop day. What’s worse than waking up in the wee hours is tossing and turning to get back to sleep before daylight? There’s nothing like crawling into bed at the end of a long day to get some well-deserved zzz’s. Poor sleep patterns are to blame for many people, but the stress hormone cortisol could be why many of us wake up in the middle of the night.

Levels of Cortisol Affect Your Sleep.

Cortisol is crucial for regulating bodily functions, metabolism, and blood pressure. It also serves as the body’s internal alarm clock, signaling when to wake up and wind down. When stressed and anxious during the day, cortisol levels can be elevated before bedtime, leading to disrupted sleep. If you fall asleep at midnight, you may wake up around 3 a.m. due to the body’s production of additional cortisol to counteract already elevated levels. 

Resetting Your Sleep Patterns Helps.

To help lower your stress levels and prevent waking up in the middle of the night, try taking a 45-minute walk each day. A pleasant stroll in the morning or evening can help you wind down and reset your stress levels. I take weight classes or pilates three or four days each week, yet I need more than these to tire me. Walking at least two miles daily has greatly improved my sleep quality. It helps me enjoy longer and more peaceful nights of rest. Walking at least two miles at some point during the day helps me sleep longer and more peacefully.

A 10-minute meditation or relaxation session daily before bedtime can help lower your cortisol levels. Even 5 minutes of focusing on your breathing can slow you down to a relaxed state conducive to better sleep. Find an activity that helps you relax, such as stretching, needlework, or listening to quiet music. Any of these activities, or similar ones, can help regulate your body’s cortisol levels and prevent them from affecting your sleep later.

Follow the 10-3-2-1 Rule.

Remember the following guidelines for better sleep: 10-3-2-1-0.
10 hours before bed: Avoid consuming caffeine.
3 hours before bed: Refrain from eating or drinking alcohol.
2 hours before bed: Stop working.
1 hour before bed: Minimize screen time by turning off all phones, TVs, and computers.

You Need How Many Hours of Sleep?

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. But just sleeping is not enough. Deep sleep is essential for health and well-being. One and a half to two hours of deep sleep per night is sufficient for most adults.

WebMD states that most healthy adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. However, simply sleeping is insufficient; deep sleep is crucial for health and well-being. Most adults require approximately 1.5-2 hours of deep sleep per night.

Eight ways to wind down at nighttime.

  1. Limit screen time and avoid stimulants before bed. Sleep hygiene is hugely important.
  2. Start winding down with deep breathing exercises. Take slow, deep breaths to help calm your mind and body.
  3. Relax the body with some gentle stretches.
  4. Take a warm bath or shower. A shower works best for me.
  5. Try a nighttime meditation. The Calm app may help.
  6. Read a physical book rather than an e-book.
  7. Write your thoughts down in a journal
  8. Play some relaxing music

Consistency is essential and will help strengthen the signal to your body and mind that you’re ready for sleep. 

**This post is not medical help or evaluation. Please consult a physician.

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