Home Medical News Why You Wake Up at 4 AM: A Sleep Expert Explains

Why You Wake Up at 4 AM: A Sleep Expert Explains

by Dr. Shruthi R
Why You Wake Up at 4 AM: A Sleep Expert Explains

Discover why many people wake up at 4 AM and how to improve your sleep quality.  Learn from expert insights and practical tips from sleep specialist Lisa Artis!

Do you find yourself awake in the middle of the night, especially around 4 AM? You’re not alone. Many people experience this, and while some theories suggest supernatural or peculiar reasons, the truth is often simpler and rooted in science.

Lisa Artis, the Deputy Chief Executive of The Sleep Charity, in collaboration with Simba mattresses, aims to debunk common myths about sleep. Addressing the question of why many people frequently wake up around 4 AM, Artis explains, “We start to experience less deep sleep after four to five in the morning.” If you went to bed around 11 PM, a fairly standard bedtime, you’re probably just leaving deep sleep and entering lighter stages of sleep. This natural progression can lead to wakefulness.

Hormones Also Play a Role

Hormones significantly influence our sleep patterns. Artis points out that sleep is governed by our internal circadian rhythm, regulated by two main hormones: melatonin, which helps you fall asleep, and cortisol, which helps you wake up and stay alert. To maintain a healthy balance of these hormones, it is essential to relax before bed and avoid screens, as the blue light emitted can interfere with melatonin production.

Diet’s Role

Your diet also impacts your sleep quality. Consuming too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and large meals, or lacking magnesium and B-vitamins, can negatively affect your sleep. Artis suggests that to avoid frequent awakenings, opt for protein-filled and magnesium-rich foods for your last meal or snack. Foods like hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, pumpkin seeds, spinach, dark chocolate, cashew nuts, chicken thighs, or turkey are good options. Protein helps keep you full longer, and magnesium supports better sleep. Reducing fluid intake before bed can also prevent nighttime awakenings.

Age Matters

Sleep patterns change with age, and hormonal changes, such as those experienced during menopause, can affect sleep. Anxiety and worries are also detrimental to good sleep. To combat this, try to eliminate concerns before bedtime by writing them down or practicing mindfulness and meditation exercises.

In summary, waking up at 4 AM is often a natural result of sleep cycles, hormonal fluctuations, and lifestyle factors. By understanding and addressing these elements, you can improve your sleep quality and enjoy a more restful night. For more detailed insights and tips, watch the full video featuring Lisa Artis as she explains the science behind these common sleep disturbances.

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