Early morning awakening is horrible. Countless people describe the agony of spending several hours each early morning trying to fall asleep again.
The effects will be bad mood and general signs of depression when suffering from this type of insomnia.
One interesting theory to why this happens is that when the body start to prepare for normal functioning again (from around 4.30am to 6.30am), it starts to activate all of your systems. One thing that happens then is that the production of stress hormones increases... Therefore...
Could not sleeping be a way for the body to avoid the effects of too much stress...?
The general recommendation is of course to first go to your doctor to get a professional opinion. The fact that you wake up too early can be caused by a wide variety of things, so try to find the source.
But through personal research and talking to countless of people that have experience from early morning awakening, I have compiled a list of the top self-treatments that has had real-life proven results.
I cannot guarantee anything, but I hope it's useful. These are the top 5 tips:
The most straightforward remedy is to actually shift your biological clock slightly. That way your body might not wake up too early anymore.
However, as far as I know, affects from this has only been seen during a short time before the new routine becomes normality. Then early morning awakening sets in again...
If you can't get enough sleep during the night, then take power naps to gain a great deal of energy and to improve your mood.
After lunch is the best time for sure, but try to squeeze in at least 1 or 2 additional naps later in the day. Keep them to 20 minutes each and you might have found a lifesaver.
A key benefit is that you'll be able to reduce your stress levels through this approach. This will hopefully also impact your ability to sleep a full long night later on.
Yoga, and Pilates, has an inherent stress-reducing effect. Just through winding down a bit and focusing on one single thing, both your mood and energy can improve.
If you're not used to yoga practice, no worries. It's really easy to get started with yoga anytime so you have nothing to lose.
You really want to make sure yoga practice both do good for your body and your mind. Remember the two keywords here: focus and breathing. Through mastering these two simple techniques, the benefits from your yoga session will be enormous.
I totally understand if you ask...
How can being exposed to bright light make me sleep better?
Well, I have just read a very interesting article about the treatment of early-morning awakening insomnia with 2 evenings of bright light that explains it all in depth.
In short, by exposing the participants to bright light during two evenings, they managed to postpone their circadian rhythm (temperature cycle) and thereby altering their biological clock. The results, even after four weeks, were remarkable. In general, the exposed participants slept more, woke up later and had less negative daytime symptoms.
If you've tried all the methods out there, then medication might be the only way towards getting better. This is not my expertise area at all, so get professional advice.
I do hope that you will be able to manage without medication by trying a variety of methods, but as a last resort you can give the pills a try.
Thanks for taking the time to read through these tips. They have all had proven effects and I truly hope that they will work for you as well. The only way to find out is to give them a shot.
I wish you many future happy nights, mornings and days :-)
Thanks for reading! By Matthew M. McEwan
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