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

Every night, around 3 or 4 in the morning, it's the same story: you wake up. Here's why.

real reason wake up same time every night expert sleep health
© Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind / Focus Features
real reason wake up same time every night expert sleep health

It's a fact: when it comes to sleep, we're not all equal. There are those who plunge into dreamland, their head barely resting on the pillow, those who sleep in one go and those who, no matter how tired they are, wake up constantly at the same time every night. Whether it lasts a few minutes or well over an hour, it's the same ritual night after night. Annoying? Certainly. The good news is that sleep experts know why it happens to you.

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'Nocturnal' ritual

You can't remember exactly when it started, but one thing's for sure: every night around 3 or 4 a.m. you're wide awake. As a result, you find yourself staring at the ceiling. A rather tiring 'ritual' (pun intended), but one that has an explanation, according to Dr Greg Murray, Director of the Health Centre at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

Several studies show that this phenomenon is by no means unique, and that since the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, more and more people are experiencing this nocturnal problem. 1 in 3 people are affected. The main culprit is stress. However, the specialist would like to add a nuance. Being stressed doesn't actually make you wake up more; what it does is make you more aware that it's happening.

Sleep phases

For many of these experts, sleeping in one go doesn't really exist. Sleep is divided into several phases of varying duration, which are repeated in cycles. Between these cycles, we wake up. There are :

- the sleep phase ;

- light sleep phase;

- the deep sleep phase, which induces a physiological household

- another phase of deep sleep, where you dream and regenerate your nervous system.

When we're sleeping well, we're unaware of these phases of wakefulness. But add stress, and it's a complete game-changer.

And if the times seem to be the same, it's simply because our bedtime and wake-up habits are the same. Despite the fact that it's recommended to go to bed before 10 p.m., most people go to bed around 10 p.m.-midnight and wake up around 7 a.m.-8 a.m.; the famous middle of the night is therefore around 3 a.m.-4 a.m. For many experts, establishing a ritual of calm before going to sleep, by limiting excitants and screens, would help to calm sleep. An airy, cool bedroom, too.

Read more:

Sleeping with your partner could be ruining your sleep

Do you often wake up before your alarm goes off? Here are some reasons why

Do you wake up with a blocked nose? Here are 3 reasons why this could be happening

Sleep: Here's why you feel like you're suddenly falling when you're dozing off

Talking in your sleep: Here's what it could mean for your health

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

The Conversation: Why do we wake around 3am and dwell on our fears and shortcomings?

Sleep Foundation: Why Do I Wake Up at 3am?

Set Alarm Online: What Time Do People Go To Bed? (Data-Driven Insights)

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