Insomnia and Women

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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