Why Do You Wake Up Every Night At 4 A.M.?

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.12 - 2024 9:36 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Why Do You Wake Up Every Night At 4 A.M.?

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In the middle of the night, you wake up and look at your clock. It's 4 AM, just like every night. But why do you always open your eyes at the same time?

"It's not really a coincidence. We start to experience less deep sleep after about four to five hours. And once we're in this lighter sleep phase, we wake up much more easily," explains Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, partner of Simba mattresses, as relayed by Sante Magazine.

After going to bed around 11 PM, waking up at 4 AM is thus most likely.

In the list of factors, Lisa Artis lists some culprits like hormones:

"Sleep is guided by our internal clock or circadian rhythm. One of the most important and well-known circadian rhythms is the wake-sleep cycle. Sleep is regulated by the levels of two hormones: melatonin and cortisol, which follow a regular 24-hour rhythm. Melatonin helps you fall asleep, while cortisol helps you get up and keeps you awake." She emphasizes the importance of engaging in calm activities before sleeping, such as reading, breathing exercises, etc.

For good sleep quality, she also recommends turning off your mobile phone:

"The blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress melatonin production. Try to avoid screens at least two hours before bedtime or use blue light filters. It's better to charge them in a separate room at night."

Regarding diet, Lisa Artis encourages monitoring what's on your plate:

"A diet rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause blood sugar fluctuations, leading to wakefulness during the night. It's unlikely that you'll be hungry in the middle of the night if your blood sugar drops. To reduce wake-ups, try alternatives for your last meal or evening snack. Instead of carbohydrates or sweet snacks, opt for foods rich in protein and magnesium, such as hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, pumpkin seeds, spinach, dark chocolate, cashew nuts, chicken thighs, or turkey."

Finally, she advises not to drink too much before sleeping to avoid needing to pee in the middle of the night.