For the last year or so, my body has gotten into this strange habit of waking itself up for no damn reason at around 4am-5am in the morning. In an attempt to track this and see if there’s any reason/cause/whatever, I’ve started trying to remember to take screenshots of my phone this week when I wake up. It’s pretty simple – I wake up, roll over, find my phone in the blankets, and do a screengrab of the home screen to snag the time (ignore the random notifications):

 

From this week, we’ve got 5:05AM, 5:43AM, 5:03AM, and 4:02AM. I am trying to also figure out if it’s somehow related to when I fall asleep but I haven’t been able to find any rationality there (why do I expect my body to be rational?).

Here are other variables I’ve looked into:

  • Nightmares (nope – I have had this happen during AMAZING dreams)
  • Noises in the neighborhood like a sprinkler starting at this time or a neighbor going to work (moved and nope – still happens)
  • Bedtime routine
  • Pillow being used
  • Temperature – am I waking up because I’m too cold or hot?

I’m honestly slightly fed up at this point with myself. Why can’t I sleep through the night? This even seems to happen across timezones as soon as I adjust to that timezone. It’s quite strange.

I’ve decided I think it’s anxiety of some sort. The cause? How to resolve it? TBD. Until then, I’m trying to figure out if I should just embrace it and get up at 4-5am or keep snuggling back in bed to sleep away a few more hours πŸ™‚

5 comments

  1. A clear possibility? Anxiety.

    Speaking from experience, I had a period of time when I wouldn’t sleep through the night, and the thought/worry of it happening again the following night when I laid down to go to sleep created a nasty self-fulfilling cycle. Something to try is to 1) Before bed, calmly tell yourself you’re going to sleep through the night, and even if you don’t, you’ll just got back to sleep after you wake up. Repeat it to yourself several times before bed, relaxing yourself as you do it. 2) If you do wake up? Do not check that phone. Tell yourself it’s not a failure, you just woke up – acknowledge you’re awake, and say to yourself, I’m going to fall asleep again…it’s not time to wake up.

    Hope you break the cycle! It’s hard, but not focusing on it might help break it.

  2. I found that my evening routine had a really big influence on the quality of my sleep through the night.

    I experimented a bit, and made a few changes that I think helped me. Maybe some of these things can help you? Or maybe you just don’t need any help, and just just don’t need that much sleep? πŸ™‚ Do you feel tired?

    – I don’t eat much for dinner, but I have to eat something or I’ll wake up too early. Although I don’t feel hungry when I wake up, it seems my stomach was telling me to wake up.
    – I eat things that are easy to digest in the evening.
    – No alcohol right before bed. I do often have a drink in the evening, but I always make sure to leave a few hours between my last drink and going to bed.
    – I try to avoid tea or drinking too much water in the evening, for obvious reasons. I guess I should mention red-bull here. πŸ™‚
    – I put my phone as far away from the bed as possible. I also don’t have any clock by the bed. I don’t want notifications to wake me up, and I don’t want sleep to be a contest; it’s okay if I wake up early, or late. There is no “too early”, or “too late”, except in specific situations (appointments the next morning, …) Although I should probably admit that having a kid is pretty much like having a clock by the bed. πŸ™‚ When I do need to wake up at a certain time, I keep my phone nearby but on airplane mode.
    – I install f.lux on all my devices. I don’t want to be looking at a bright screen in the evening.

    There is one last item that I know affects me, but I haven’t found the right way to fight this yet: I need to take everything out of my head before I go to bed. That’s something I still struggle with. Every night I have trouble falling asleep because I’ll be thinking on how to implement something at work, and my mind will always be racing with thoughts. This tends to happen every time I walk away from the keyboard and have nothing to do. Some things help a bit though. Basically, right before to go to bed, I need to do something that allows my mind to roam free, and get the things that bothered me during the day off my brain. For me, that’s walking the dog, or having a shower. If I skip that phase (by watching a movie and then directly going to bed for example), I’ll have trouble falling asleep.

    Anyhow. That’s just me. πŸ™‚ Hopefully there is something in here that can help you sleep, if you really need to sleep more πŸ™‚

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