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Here's Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night
Grayson Berman
08.12.16

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Can’t make it through a night without waking up? Studies show that at least 35% of Americans wake up every morning reporting their sleep as either “poor” or “only fair.” (National Sleep Foundation, 2014) Many people find themselves waking up at roughly the same time every night, without the aid of their alarm clock, cutting time out of the precious 8 hours that doctors recommend to stay healthy.

When searching for the reasoning behind these abnormal sleeping habits, many articles will direct attention towards what the Chinese refer to as your Organ or Body Clock.

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The Body Clock works on the premise that your chi move through different parts of your body at varying times of day. For example, if in your waking hours you are struggling to contain the excess of the emotions guilt, rage, or anger, they will begin affecting your resting hours of 1am-3am, when those energies are most prevalent in our bodies, particularly the small intestine.

However, western science says otherwise. At the University of Pennsylvania, a study Michael Perlis of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program was able to provide scientific reasons behind waking up at all different hours of the night.

1. You’re stressed

There are multiple reasons you could be having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep in the early hours of the night. The first being stress. Studies show that individuals that attempt to sleep with a lot on their minds or in the midst of stressful life events with struggle to fall and stay asleep in the early hours of the night.

2. You aren’t breathing enough

There are two physiological explanations for your “Middle Insomnia.” The first being GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, a medical condition that awakes you because you stomach acid is burning your esophagus. The second is sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder where you stop breathing for extended periods of time during slumber.

3. You’re sad

Perlis reveals that one of the biggest reasons for waking up before the birds begin their morning song is strongly linked with depression. If you’ve been rising while its still dark out, you’ve probably feeling down or bummed out lately.

4. You’re drinking too much

According to Timothy Roehrs of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, booze makes you fall asleep faster, and speeds up your decent into the stages of REM, but as soon as your body metabolizes the alcohol later in the night, usually around 3am, your sleep becomes fitful, and you could even wake up.

5. It’s just part of life

As we age, our bodies naturally begin to rest lest efficiently, resulting in more light stage one REM sleep, which results in more late night awakenings, says Dr. Sandra Horowitz, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. Many medications designed for the elderly aggravate age related sleeping disturbances as well, she added.

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By Grayson Berman
hi@sbly.com
Grayson Berman is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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