Sleeping well is not easy. Many people are affected by regular nocturnal awakenings which sometimes occur every night at the same time. Explanations…

You’re tired of waking up every night and you’re not the only ones. According to a global sleep study by Philips Healthcare, 67% of adults wake up at least once during the night. What’s even more disturbing is when you wake up in complete darkness every night and your alarm always shows around the same time. A painful repetition that can affect productivity and mood the next day.

If the explanation often lies elsewhere, we must first of all ensure that these awakenings are not due to a pathology, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, repeated interruptions of breathing during the night. It is important to consult a doctor to find out if these waking up at fixed times are due to such illnesses, which will then need to be treated.

If you are not in this case, other factors can help to understand these impromptu awakenings: lifestyle, old age, noise, the meal the day before… Waking up at fixed times is sometimes simply caused by stress. “Waking up with worry at three in the morning is very understandable and very human,” Greg Murray, director of the Mental Health Center at Swinburne University in Australia, told The Conversation.

But the main explanation lies elsewhere. According to Shelby Harris, a clinical psychologist who spoke in Huffpost, “everyone has a series of short awakenings, five to seven on average, throughout the night, between each sleep cycle.” Sleep is, in fact, not a block. It is made up of several successive cycles which last between 90 and 110 minutes: light sleep, deep sleep, then paradoxical sleep (dreams). If you wake up between two cycles, these are the micro-awakenings that you will not be aware of and that you will even forget the next day.

But as the night goes on, deep sleep cycles become shorter. This explains why waking up at fixed times tends to happen around three or four in the morning, especially if you often go to bed around the same time in the evening. It can also be due to a deficiency of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

To sleep better, you should adopt a good sleep routine. It is advisable to turn off screens at least half an hour before going to bed, to keep a regular bedtime routine, even on weekends, and to keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Having the time in front of you is also not ideal because it forces you to calculate the time that passes and the hours of sleep remaining before waking up.