Insomnia and Women

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Maybe it’s because I’m around women all day long, but it seems to me that women struggle with insomnia more than men do.   No doubt for many women menopause plays a role and as I’m starting to struggle with sleeping problems I wonder if that’s something I need to take a closer look at.  Knowing that sleep deprivation revs up the appetite and doesn’t do wonders for immune function, I want to nip this in the bud.

Lately my pattern has been to wake at 3:00 in the morning and find myself up for hours before I can fall back asleep.  I used to call this the 3:00-stress-wake-up in the past.  There is no doubt in my mind that stress can trigger this for me, but why?

Digging a little deeper (aka googling) I stumbled on a forum with people reference a host of different reasons why they think this occurs at 3:00 for so many.  Here are some of the ideas they came up with:

  • noise – alarm set in neighborhood or hot water heater on a timer kicking on
  • religious reasons – referencing the time of Christ’s death
  • watching Amityville Horror too many times (since waking at 3:15 every night occured for a character in that movie)
  •  Chinese medicine and 1am to 3 am being ruled by the liver and 3am to 5:00 being ruled by the lungs – apparently the transition wakes you??
  • being at your lowest metabolic rate at 3:00 am
  • depression

No one mentions cortisol and stress, which I suspect.  It looks like cortisol might actually take a nose dive around that time and could potentially affect blood sugar levels at that point.  This is interesting to me, because I’ve woken hungry at this point in the night a few times.  Despite the effect on blood sugar, I find it odd that a LOW cortisol level would induce waking.  I’d be more inclined to expect high levels to reduce length and quality of sleep.  I plan on digging deeper, past google to find some research on this phenomenon that seems to occur for so many other than me.

Do you often wake at 3:00?  Have you discovered any rationale for this occurring?

2 Responses (Add Yours)

  • I awaken at 3:00 several times a week. I have been trying to figure it out for years and now I just seem to roll with it more than not. I will be watching to see what you come up with.

  • Rachel says:

    I wake at night, too. I found this phenomena was not happening while at Green Mountain. Using mindfulness and support from others, I discovered daily stress could be playing a part. I continue to work on mindfulness.

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