There's nothing more frustrating than lying there wide awake at 3am. Here's some of the reasons you may be waking up and some tips to getting back to sleep.
3am brain frenzy
Ever noticed if you wake around 3am your brain is going full pelt, like a hamster sprinting on its wheel? This is because you’re typically in your biggest REM (dreaming) cycle around this time and your body is flat out getting its work done. (Check out my blog on what actually goes on while you're asleep)
If there’s a too much on the to-do list, normally because you’re rather stressed, your body will be trying to work super fast to get it all done, and this can pull you a little too close to the line between sleeping and waking, and you wake up.
So the best thing you can do for yourself is to try and relax as much as possible if you’re unable to get back off to sleep. The last thing you need is to lie there getting worked up, which only adds more to the body’s to-do list.
Try the body feeling relaxation technique I described in my Blog - Top tips for a good nights sleep - getting to sleep. If your mind and body are relaxed, your body can continue to do its work so don’t fret too much.
If you’re a Vedic Meditator, there’s even less reason to fret about missing a bit of sleep, as you know you can catch up during the deep rest portion of your morning meditation. As you continue to meditate, you should notice that you see 3am less and less, unless you're still out enjoying yourself that is!
Have a stretch
If your body feels energised when you wake, or you’re tossing and turning in bed, having a stretch can dissipate this feeling.
Start with your legs, then your sides, arms and then your neck. Really focus on the area being stretched and keep your eyes closed and lights off.
Sole possession of the duvet
If your snuggle partner likes to hog the duvet, and you often wake up cold, don’t fight them, just get a 2nd duvet!
If your bedroom is particularly cold, use a timer switch to have your heated blanket come on around 2-3am on the lowest setting should stop you from waking up.
I need to pee!
If you wake and need to go, I say just go. There’s nothing worse than lying there trying to sleep but can’t because you need to pee! Keep your eyes closed as much as poss (so gents, take a seat!) and don’t put the light on. Visiting the bathroom once or twice a night, especially as we get a little older is fine, but regularly waking more than that might highlight a problem called nocturia, which you should have a chat to your GP about.
If you’re a Vedic Meditator, the window for your morning meditation opens around 4am. So if you’re awake and the body relaxation technique hasn’t worked, then get your meditation done and go back to sleep. Don’t meditate again when your alarm goes off, just enjoy the extra 20 mins in your day.
If you’re not yet a Vedic Meditator, there are plenty of guided relaxation ‘meditations’ on YouTube which could help you get back to sleep.
Where to next?
Read next Blog - Part IV - Sleep Tips: morning sluggishness
Read previous Blog - Part II - Sleep Tips: getting to sleep
Vedic Meditation is great for sleep issues
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