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
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?