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Waking up around 3 am and wondering what to do?



Are you waking up regularly at around 3:00 am and finding it difficult to get to sleep easily after that?


You are not alone. There are millions of people with this affliction and it is something that can be converted to benefit you.


Waking up in the middle of the night is not uncommon. But most people go back to sleep easily. But there is a growing number of people who complain of this phenomenon of waking up around 3:00 am and with the difficulty of going back to sleep easily.


If you wake up at 3 a.m. or another time and can’t fall right back asleep, it may be for several reasons. These include lighter sleep cycles, stress, or underlying health conditions.


You might first want to know that we don’t sleep continuously for 8 hours. Our sleep involves multiple sleep cycles.


Each sleep cycle is made up of these 4 stages:

  1. Wake state

  2. REM

  3. Light Sleep and

  4. Deep Sleep

Each cycle lasts about 90 mins and a person may come to a brief awake state at the end of a cycle which, most times, they may not remember in the morning.


Read more about sleep stages here https://www.ignatiusraphael.in/post/sleep-stages


There are many commonly believed reasons for why you wake up at 3 a.m.


Some of them are

  • Stress: Stress may be the first thing to consider if 3 a.m. awakenings are a new thing. When you feel stressed, your body activates your sympathetic nervous symptom, and you may jolt awake in the middle of the night. You may experience an increased heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Insomnia: Insomnia is a diagnosable sleep condition in which you have difficulty falling back asleep after waking at night on a regular basis. A significant portion of the population experiences insomnia.

  • Ageing: Ageing plays a huge role in your sleep cycles. When you get older, your sleep cycles change, you may take medications that alter your sleeping patterns, and you might develop another condition that impacts sleep.

  • Medications: You may take a medication that interferes with your nightly sleep. These can include: antidepressants, beta blockers, corticosteroids or cold remedies

  • Other health conditions: You may develop a condition that affects your sleep and causes this early wake-up. Some of these conditions include: Sleep apnea, Heartburn or indigestion, Arthritis, Depression, Enlarged prostate, etc.

  • Treating an underlying condition may help you sleep better and manage insomnia. If you suspect you have one of these conditions, your doctor can help diagnose and treat it.

Make the right lifestyle choices

Preparing yourself for quality sleep is very important. Poor sleep hygiene can be caused by:

  • looking at computer or mobile screens close to bedtime

  • drinking alcohol or caffeine before bedtime

  • eating too close to bedtime

  • smoking

  • sleeping somewhere that isn’t conducive to sleep

  • taking naps too late in the day

  • not getting enough exercise

Changing these habits can improve your sleep significantly.


Waking up at 3 a.m. can be a bother, but it’s not always a sign of a larger problem.


If you are unable to sleep once you wake up at 3:00 am, you could consider meditation or introspection.


This period of the morning is calm and quiet where you can do the best thinking of your life and find solutions and innovations that otherwise could be elusive.


Once you have done that, you might find that you are calm enough and sleepy enough to go back to bed. Or if you are wide awake, you could get a head start to your day.


The Brahma Muhurtam time is around 2 hours before sunrise. If you are awake at time time and meditate and spend time in introspection and learning, you will be able to make great progress in this lifetime. Waking up at this time, may be a call for you to get in touch with your Creator and your inner self.


Trust your body, your mind and your Creator. The Universe is here to support you.


Utilise every moment of your life fully.


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