What if I wake up before the alarm goes off? Tips from 3 sleep experts

Many people are afraid of the alarm clock barking and signal the beginning of a busy day. Others want them not to wake up yet and the sound really awakens them.

Waking up minutes or hours before the alarm goes off isn’t a new phenomenon, sleep experts told CNN, but it can cause incredible discomfort to people. .. The added stressor of the pandemic exacerbated our collective struggle for sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans sleep less overnight than recommended for a minimum of 7 hours. [por cá, 46% dos portugueses com idade igual ou superior a 25 anos dormiam menos de seis horas por dia em 2018].. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies around the world show that 10% to 30% of the population suffers from insomnia. This is defined as having consistent difficulty falling asleep and being unable to return to sleep after bedtime.

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According to a 2009 study by the Stanford University Center for Sleep Epidemiology, people suffering from insomnia may have a combination of what is classified as “night awakening” and “morning awakening.” The study concludes that some people experience early awakening without other symptoms of insomnia, such as “difficulty in starting sleep,” “nocturnal awakening,” and “non-restorative sleep.” I am.

“There is a little myth that insomnia is just struggling to fall asleep,” explains sleep expert Rebecca Robins, an instructor in the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “A common complaint is waking up with excessive drowsiness and very anxiety.”

Treatment of insomnia includes cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication, but other daily tips can affect early morning awakening. People who do not suffer from chronic insomnia but wake up early may have an acute sleep disorder.

“Sleep is a product of our awakening life,” says Robins. “If we are experiencing difficulties, trauma, or any disturbing events … those events extend to our sleep.”

Constantly waking up before this daily sound is associated with an immense frustration of not falling asleep. Stress isolates you, makes you feel consumed, and takes precedence over the problem of falling asleep when you fall asleep.

“You start to argue about it and then start exacerbating insomnia,” says Rajkumar Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. “Don’t start telling yourself …’I’m going to keep myself in bed until I fall asleep.'”

So what can you do?

Don’t look at your watch or cell phone

If you wake up suddenly, that is, if you wake up early in the morning, do not check your watch. Making sure that the alarm is set to 3 am when you set it to 7 am can add stress to the amount of sleep you want to achieve.

“Increasing anxiety and frustration … it becomes habitual to look at the clock, and that habitual frustration and anxiety response also causes a stress response to the body,” said RandCorp’s senior behavioral scientist, Sleep. Expert Wendy Troxel explains.

According to experts, checking your watch when you get up early can be stressful and make it difficult to fall asleep.

When stress is prioritized, cortisol levels rise and the body becomes more cautious. This process is counterproductive in maintaining drowsiness. The brain becomes hyperactive.

“We look at the clock. It’s 3am and soon tensions can clench your teeth. You think about all your demands … how terrible it is when you’re sleep deprived. It will be, “says Troxel. “All this mental processing and excitement is the exact opposite of sleep. It awakens a person more carefully … in contrast to signaling the brain that it is okay to drift. . “

Checking the clock can be an even more important trigger if the alarm is on your cell phone. Consider getting an alarm that is not connected to your phone.

“Our phone is the most powerful signal for our awake life,” says Troxel. “Because the light is shining from the mobile phone, we can directly stimulate the circadian signal to be alert. Whether you are browsing social media or reading, you are consuming it on your mobile phone. The content of the content becomes very lively. “News Everyone can stimulate an invigorating emotional state rather than relaxing. “

Get out of bed

So, paradoxically, experts say they get out of bed. Yes, even at 3 am.

“Abandon the idea of ​​going back to sleep,” says Troxel. “When you do so, if you let go of the pressure that sleep isn’t very effective, you’re more likely to get sleep back.”

Stimulus control techniques can distract the brain with routine tasks that help regain drowsiness faster than frustrating in bed. “Change your mood as soon as you hear that little voice. Get out of bed,” says Robins. “Reset your brain and keep the lights low.”

Attributing the bed mentally to sleep helps people associate positive thoughts about sleep with their space. Leaving the bedroom when the hustle and bustle begins can separate frustration from the bed.

Reading books, knitting, and listening to soothing music (but not using the phone) can be distracting to your brain. As soon as the drowsiness begins again, I go back to bed.

Record what works and what doesn’t

Dasgupta recommends tracking not only when you go to bed and wake up on a particular night, but also calming techniques, environmental factors, and nutritional and exercise routines that may help you sleep that day. ..

“Perfect sleep is like a puzzle and you need all the right pieces,” says Dasgupta. “People with insomnia miss some of these sleep hygiene.” When you make your recommendations, like muscle relaxation, it may not be what you need. Maybe the sound wasn’t an important part. Maybe I need more blankets. “

It also depends on our given circadian rhythm, or the 24-hour solar cycle that warns us that the body is alive and drowsiness begins at night. Changes in environmental factors such as travel, working hours, and lighting can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm and cause an unpleasant early-morning awakening before the alarm sounds, Dasgupta explains. In this case, it may be helpful to change the lighting in a particular room or get another lighting.

Progressive muscle relaxation works. Start with your toes and tighten and release your muscles for 3 seconds. Breathe through this process. 4-7-8 breathing exercises combined with muscle relaxation can be successful, says Dasgupta. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.

Others may find yoga, meditation, and reading useful when they wake up before the alarm goes off.

The important thing here is getting out of bed.

The same technique may not work for everyone, but it is based on the practice of various strategies that can affect sleep and ultimately builds well-followed routines.

“We will make great progress and move forward,” says Robins. “That’s why we consciously use the ritual of the word before bedtime, because they are ideally the strategies you incorporate into your routine. It’s your toolkit.”

If the problem lasts more than three times a week for three months, Robins recommends consulting a sleep specialist. It may require more than a simple change in habits.

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