Why Am I Awake at 3 in the Morning?If you drank two pots of coffee right before bed and then find yourself lying awake at 3 a.m., there’s a good bet the caffeine is to blame. But if you keep waking up at 3 a.m. again and again – even when there’s no coffee involved – there could be other issues going on.
Last Call for AlcoholWhile a few glasses of red wine might make you feel warm and fuzzy, they might also impact your ability to get quality sleep. A clinical study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that participants who drank alcohol before bed fell asleep easily, but as the alcohol wore off, sleep became disrupted.
Artificial LightArtificial light may be great for late-night reading and relaxing, but it can wreak havoc on our sleeping cycle. Your body has a type of internal clock, known as circadian rhythm, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. While we humans have been using artificial light for years, our bodies can still get confused when constantly exposed to bright lights into the wee hours of the night. The blue screens on smartphones and electronics can be even more hazardous to a good night’s sleep. One study showed exposure to blue light on a computer screen between the hours of 9 and 11 p.m. resulted in:
- Shorter durations of overall sleep time
- Suppressed melatonin production
- Frequent awakenings during the night
Rumbling, Rambling StomachThe jury is still out on whether eating shortly before bed causes weight gain, but one thing is certain - you might not get a great night of sleep. In addition to potentially causing heartburn or acid reflux, the digestive process can actually trick your body into thinking it’s time to be up and about, throwing your circadian rhythm out of sync.
Your Circadian Rhythm Is out of WhackWe’ve mentioned circadian rhythm a few times, and that’s because it has a huge impact on your body’s most important functions like metabolism, temperature, and you guessed it - sleep. There are a number of things that can affect your circadian rhythm’s ability to regulate, and one of the most obvious signals of an imbalance is difficulty sleeping.
What to Do if You Keep Waking Up at 3 a.m.If you can trace your late-night awakening to a specific cause, simply omit the cause. Don’t drink coffee or alcohol near bedtime. Eat meals at least two to three hours before bed. Instead of wine, try yoga, meditation or other methods of relaxing before bed. Stop using bright lights and electronics after 9 p.m. In fact, the above list is a common sense list for all seeking a good night’s sleep. And even more tips can help you get back to sleep in the middle of the night:
- Stay away from your phone to keep the blue light at bay
- Get out of bed to go do something relaxing; come back when your eyes start to droop
- Cover the clock to stop stressing out about the time
- Practice relaxation techniques, like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, counting backward from 100