Waking up early: 5 reasons to wake up before the alarm goes off

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When the alarm clock pulls you out of the depths of sleep, it’s not very hap­py, but “there is such a word“ nec­es­sary ”. But when you wake up 3 hours before the call, but it’s still ear­ly to get up and you want to sleep des­per­ate­ly — this is where it becomes insult­ing. More­over, it is not always pos­si­ble to fall asleep again for the remain­ing two or three hours. What leads to these frus­trat­ing ear­ly awak­en­ings, despite evening fatigue and chron­ic sleep depri­va­tion, Healthy­in­fo fig­ured out.

Reason #1. Insomnia

Reason #1.  Insomnia

By default, insom­nia is con­sid­ered to be when a per­son can­not fall asleep. But this sleep dis­or­der can look dif­fer­ent:

    sleep problems,
    heavy sleep with nightmares,
    restless, disturbed sleep,
    waking up too early.

A per­son can suf­fer from one of these symp­toms, and from sev­er­al at once. But most often, either dif­fi­cul­ties with falling asleep and prob­lems with get­ting up or easy falling asleep (“only the head touched the pil­low”) and wak­ing up a few hours before the sched­uled time with the inabil­i­ty to con­tin­ue the night’s rest are com­bined with each oth­er.

An inter­est­ing point: young peo­ple often expe­ri­ence dif­fi­cul­ties with falling asleep, but ear­ly awak­en­ing is more like­ly the lot of old­er cit­i­zens and mid­dle-aged peo­ple.

What to do?

The same meth­ods are suit­able for com­bat­ing insom­nia of awak­en­ing as for treat­ing insom­nia in gen­er­al:

    Avoid alcohol before bed, or at least reduce what you drink to a minimum, as well as a ban on any other stimulants (coffee and other sources of caffeine, smoking, etc.).
    Minimizing your intake of any liquid before bed will reduce the need for nightly trips to the toilet.
    Creating an environment protected from light and sound: thick dark curtains, sleeping without a snoring partner and animals in the same bed.

Reason number 2. sleep apnea

This is the name giv­en to short paus­es in breath­ing dur­ing sleep. The fact that a per­son has sleep apnea can be guessed by the com­bi­na­tion of ear­ly awak­en­ing with chron­ic snor­ing, con­stant fatigue, high blood pres­sure in the morn­ing and fre­quent headaches. In this case, an apnea attack can pro­voke an ear­ly awak­en­ing.

Often, sleep apnea man­i­fests itself in the stage of REM sleep — para­dox­i­cal sleep or the stage of rapid eye move­ment. In this phase of sleep, mus­cle tone is low­ered, the per­son is weak­est of all, he is prac­ti­cal­ly immo­bi­lized. The REM phase is for the most part just the sec­ond half of the night, so breath­ing stops most often occur dur­ing this peri­od of sleep and, as a result, a per­son wakes up long before get­ting up.

What to do?

Peo­ple who live alone don’t always know they have sleep apnea. Mean­while, this is a seri­ous prob­lem that requires the help of a doc­tor. Sleep apnea has a dev­as­tat­ing effect on the brain and heart mus­cle over the years, so if the symp­toms sug­gest sleep apnea, you should go to the doc­tor and get rec­om­men­da­tions for treat­ment.

Reason number 3. Stress

Reason number 3.  Stress

Expe­ri­enced stress may not be notice­able from the out­side. A per­son who is con­stant­ly under stress can look out­ward­ly smil­ing and con­fi­dent. How­ev­er, liv­ing in a state of chron­ic dead­lines or in an atmos­phere of the risk of mak­ing a cost­ly mis­take in mak­ing fair­ly glob­al deci­sions can grad­u­al­ly plunge a per­son into a state of con­stant stress.

Stress, both acute and chron­ic, increased anx­i­ety can also cause ear­ly awak­en­ing. The fact that stress is the cause of jump­ing up in the mid­dle of the night may be evi­denced by a feel­ing of cheer­ful­ness, a clear mind and a readi­ness to imme­di­ate­ly get down to busi­ness. In fact, the body imme­di­ate­ly after wak­ing up turns on to the max­i­mum and does not allow a per­son to sleep fur­ther. At the same time, awak­en­ing occurs at a time when the body has not yet had time to ful­ly rest, which affects lat­er, dur­ing the day, when unplanned fatigue leans on a per­son.

What to do?

The main way to deal with ear­ly awak­en­ing in this case is anti-stress ther­a­py. It may include not only solv­ing the prob­lem that brings a per­son into a state of stress — it is much more impor­tant to learn how to cope with this state, regard­less of exter­nal cir­cum­stances. The list of meth­ods for deal­ing with stress includes: relax­ation exer­cis­es that should be per­formed before going to bed, med­i­ta­tion, sleep hygiene, etc. The doc­tor may also rec­om­mend dietary sup­ple­ments and oth­er means with an anti-stress, seda­tive effect.

Reason number 4. Depression

Depres­sion often caus­es dis­rup­tion of the cir­ca­di­an rhythms that under­lie the alter­na­tion of sleep and wake cycles. Often, peo­ple suf­fer­ing from depres­sion not only do not sleep well at the allot­ted time for this, they can also expe­ri­ence drowsi­ness in the midst of a peri­od of activ­i­ty and, on the con­trary, suf­fer from bouts of vig­or, wak­ing up sev­er­al hours before the alarm goes off.

In 2018, sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­wick found a link between depres­sion and sleep dis­or­ders. The researchers explained this con­nec­tion by the fact that in both cas­es the same areas of the brain are involved. Stim­u­la­tion of these areas in peo­ple suf­fer­ing from depres­sion leads to the for­ma­tion of dif­fi­cult-to-con­trol, obses­sive emo­tion­al images, a per­son replays the same sit­u­a­tion in his head over and over again, pre­sent­ing dif­fer­ent options for solv­ing it, unable to stop this process — psy­chol­o­gists call this phe­nom­e­non rumi­na­tion. Ear­ly awak­en­ing in these patients often leads to rumi­na­tion and morn­ing insom­nia.

What to do?

It should be remem­bered that depres­sion is a seri­ous dis­ease, the treat­ment of which is best entrust­ed to a doc­tor. If there is a sus­pi­cion of depres­sion, you should con­sult a spe­cial­ist to clar­i­fy the diag­no­sis. Do not trust pub­licly avail­able tests for self-diag­no­sis of depres­sion — only a doc­tor, based on the results of the test, inter­view and obser­va­tion, can make an accu­rate diag­no­sis.

Reason number 5. Age-related changes in circadian rhythms

Reason number 5.  Age-related changes in circadian rhythms

With age, the cir­ca­di­an rhythms we talked about above can change a bit. The amount of sleep a per­son needs also changes. This shift is espe­cial­ly pro­nounced in the elder­ly. It is not uncom­mon for a per­son to start going to bed ear­li­er and ear­li­er, wak­ing up as a result at 3–4 am. In this case, he got a full sleep, his body rest­ed, he does not expe­ri­ence day­time sleepi­ness — just his cycle of sleep and wake­ful­ness has shift­ed by sev­er­al hours.

Old­er peo­ple also have oth­er char­ac­ter­is­tics. If among young peo­ple and mid­dle-aged peo­ple insom­nia occurs in 10–20% of cas­es, among the elder­ly the same fig­ure reach­es 40%. One of the rea­sons is the age-relat­ed change in sleep pat­terns. The peri­od of falling asleep increas­es, the dura­tion of the stages of deep sleep decreas­es, the effi­cien­cy of sleep also decreas­es, while ear­ly awak­en­ings occur more and more often.

In addi­tion, 70% of old­er peo­ple with insom­nia are on med­ica­tions that dis­rupt sleep, alco­hol, suf­fer from var­i­ous men­tal dis­or­ders or chron­ic dis­eases. In the case of the lat­ter, the sleep apnea men­tioned above, pains of var­i­ous kinds that cause a per­son to wake up, etc., may devel­op.

For these rea­sons, and also due to the fact that more time a per­son is at the stage of super­fi­cial sleep, the sleep of the elder­ly becomes very sen­si­tive. Any, even a slight noise, can inter­rupt it.

What to do?

Dis­tur­bances in mela­tonin pro­duc­tion and altered cir­ca­di­an rhythms may be asso­ci­at­ed with a reduc­tion in out­door walks, where the patient is exposed to sun­light, which plays an impor­tant role in the reg­u­la­tion of cir­ca­di­an rhythms. Reg­u­lar walks will help treat insom­nia due to ear­ly awak­en­ing.

Prob­lems of going to bed ear­ly and wak­ing up ear­ly can be addressed with bright light ther­a­py. With the help of bright light in the evenings, the pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin is sup­pressed. This should move the moment of falling asleep to a lat­er time. After the ces­sa­tion of expo­sure to bright light, the pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone increas­es, which leads to drowsi­ness, facil­i­tates the process of falling asleep and shifts the time of awak­en­ing.

Old­er peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced age-relat­ed sleep dis­or­ders are also rec­om­mend­ed to take a course of cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py for insom­nia.

Evi­dence-based rec­om­men­da­tions for the assess­ment and man­age­ment of sleep dis­or­ders in old­er per­sons. / Bloom HG, et al. // J Am Geri­atr Soc. - May 2009 - 57(5)

Treat­ment of cir­ca­di­an rhythm sleep dis­or­ders with light. / Goo­ley JJ. // Ann Acad Med Sin­gap. - 2008 Aug - 37(8)

bird, robin, songbird
hazelnut, ice crystals, frozen
dragonfly, insect, wings
dragonfly, insect, wings
dragon-fly, insect, close up

Awake at 4 AM: treat­ment of insom­nia with ear­ly morn­ing awak­en­ings among old­er adults. / Fiorenti­no L, Mar­tin JL. // J Clin Psy­chol. - 2010 - 66(11)

By Yraa

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