Here are 5 possible reasons you can't sleep well at night, according to science

Early waking is a little-known mechanism that differs from insomnia. Here are the five causes identified by science to explain this phenomenon.

reasons disturbed sleep tips
© Bruce Mars / Unsplash
reasons disturbed sleep tips

Why do we often wake up before our alarm rings? According to British media outlet Well and Good, a panel of specialists has identified several reasons. From complete sleep disorders to alcohol consumption and jet lag, here are the five causes likely to cause you to miss the last minutes - or hours - of your precious nights.

Discover our latest podcast

Sleep disorders

Getting up earlier than you had planned can also be linked to a sleep disorder. The first possibility is premature insomnia. According to sleep psychologist Jade Wu, this is one of the most difficult forms to treat. In this case:

People want or need to sleep more, but something wakes them up early and they have trouble getting back to sleep before their night is really over.

According to Dr. Kapur, another rest specialist, the breathing pauses that accompany obstructive sleep apnea could also be responsible for waking up earlier than desired.

Mood problems

Mood disorders, which include depression, anxiety and stress, are also important factors. Disturbed sleep and depression are closely linked. Dr Kapur explains:

Waking up too early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep is a classic presentation of depression.

Some SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), drugs commonly prescribed as antidepressants, can have a negative effect on sleep in the 'REM' phase, the last phase of sleep that occurs in the morning for most people.

Alcohol consumption

According to Dr Kapur, alcohol consumption can also disrupt your sleep. Often, drinking alcoholic beverages leads to disturbances in the middle of the night. But this varies from person to person, depending on how 'your body metabolizes ethanol', he warns.

Read more:This is why you're always so tired after a good night’s sleep

Time difference

Factors that disrupt your circadian rhythm, such as jet lag or going to bed late on weekends (which amounts to giving you jet lag), can also contribute to these early awakenings. Dr Wu explains:

If your circadian rhythm is confused, it could wake you up much earlier, even when you don't need it, because it already thinks it's daytime when it's not.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors such as light, noise, temperature, and even the comfort of your sleeping surface, according to Dr. Kapur, can contribute to a pre-alarm wake-up. Adopting good sleep hygiene habits can help. To address these, he suggests keeping a sleep diary and trying different solutions to see if you manage to sleep longer in the morning. For example, try wearing an eye mask if light pollution is a problem.

Read more:This is why we sleep less as we get older, science explains

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

Well and Good: Here’s What Your Body Is Trying To Tell You if You’re Constantly Waking Up Before Your Alarm

This is the real reason why you wake up at the same time every night, according to expert This is the real reason why you wake up at the same time every night, according to expert