For the past few years, I’ve been waking up between 2 and 3 AM most nights and I can’t fall back asleep for between 20mins-1hr. I’m curious if anyone else has struggled with this and if you have any advice.
Also I’m wondering if anyone has any experience taking melatonin? I’m not necessarily looking to take a supplement to better my sleep but I’m more so just curious on the options.
Hi there! I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble sleeping. I am right there with you actually, and even worked with a sleep doctor recently. I'm no doctor, but here's some advice that has helped me. I still wake up a lot during the night but for the most part I fall back asleep quicker than I used to.
1. I LIVE for magnesium. If it's safe for you to take (ask your doctor!) I highly recommend not just for sleep but also for calmness and join pains
2. I stopped reading on my kindle and started reading paper books and wow what a difference that made! The kindle has been almost like a safety blanket these past few years - my go-to when I can't sleep and I even used to leave it under the pillow for middle of the night wake ups! Turns out, the lights on the kindle are similar to TV lights (and we all know about blue light!)
3. I've tried to stop stressing about not sleeping. It's so so common to wake up in the middle of the night. Also may mean you need to use the bathroom. Just get up and go and you may fall right back to sleep!
4. Taking long deep breaths, with longer exhales than inhales, has also helped me. Knowing that I still make it through the days when I miss some sleep is a good reminder in the moment that I will be ok tomorrow (with maybe just a little more coffee).
I LOVE talking about sleep. It's been such a challenge for me for years and though I'm not getting a lot more lately, reducing the anxiety about it is helping my overall outlook. I hope you get some rest soon!
@mmyogabeach2 I received similar instructions from my sleep doctor! Glad we're getting the same advice here.
@surfingob I used to take melatonin every night but I started seeing shapes in the curtains and waking up in a weird daze lol. Maybe I was taking too much. I stopped for a few years but have picked up again after my doctor told me to take melatonin at like 6pm so that it sets in earlier in the evening. I used to take it right before bed and that was probably messing with my sleep!
That 2a-3a wake up is incredibly common. If you look at things from an Ayurvedic perspective, that's almost when we should be waking up. @mmyogabeach2 had a LOT of great things to say (ESP turning the lights off!!!). I would add two things and remember we're not doctors!!!
1. But from personal experience, melatonin can lead to migraines, so like MMYogabeach, I LOVE magnesium and I add in valerian drops.
2. But the thing I was going to suggest is to do a little research into Ayurveda. There's a specific sleepy time elixir, similar to golden milk that lots of people drink before bed that helps you stay asleep that extra few hours.
Then, I know this seems counterintuitive, but wake up early! Wake with the birds. Let the sun be your alarm clock.
Good luck and just know that I'm right there with you most nights! Sending love and sleepy vibes.
This is such an interesting topic. From research for sleep and athletes, melatonin isn't actually always recommended because of the reasons others said. Interestingly enough, tart cherry juice is favorable for a good night's sleep! I've also experimented with the CBD drops from TheraOne and honestly they've worked incredibly well. I feel like I don't move at all the whole night, but I would caution with starting small with CBD because everyone's dose is different and it might make you sleep a little toooo nicely into the morning lol! So just a tiny bit is enough to get a quality night's rest. I'm also a fan of a nice cup of chamomile tea too!
I will chime in as the doctor of the group! Melatonin can be helpful to regulate your circadian rhythm IF that is the cause of your sleep issues. It is also an antioxidant which early research for Covid has shown to be beneficial in preventing severe disease. A little goes a long way so you may try micro-dosing like 0.5 mg just for overall immune support. Definitely check with your primary care physician though before starting!
Another common cause of waking up at that time of night from a Chinese medicine perspective is liver dysfunction. This could be from a mental/spiritual aspect such as unprocessed anger. Or from a physical perspective such as sluggish liver detoxification. You may try acupuncture to help reset your liver meridians!
It could also be due to blood sugar dysregulation or cortisol peaking too soon from chronic stress. These are all issues you can delve further into with a functional medicine doctor. Hope that helps!
Tiffany, I hear that the best way to buy melatonin is from your physician versus over the counter, as general label products were found to vary too much in terms of melatonin per pill. Sometimes you'll be taking too much and other times too little. Is this true?
Second, I heard taking a hot bath before bed can help, as it brings a lot of the heat in your body to the surface. Would you recommend a hot bath?
Ideally yes as supplement brands vary but that us not always possible. If you are working with a functional medicine or naturopathic doctor, definitely check with them on favorite companies they trust!
And absolutely! If you have access to a bathtub, taking a bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can improve sleep quality.
I love @mmyogabeach2 advice. A few other tips:
1) You can also use melatonin topically if ingesting it isn't your thing. At night I take a warm shower to relax then use a lotion containing melatonin and magnesium. I second the love for magnesium -- it's so good for you & is critical for 300+ healthy body processes.
2) Try getting up at the same time every day even weekends. This makes you sleepy at the same time at night over time.
3) Dedicate an hour to wind down before bed if you can. Read a paper book, take a shower or bath, even watch TV if that relaxes you.
I read somewhere that waking up around that time 2-3am can be caused by a change in your blood sugar levels. I find that can happen to me when I have had wine before bed so I try not to drink before heading to bed. I also have a whole sleep ritual because since I have been in menopause over the last year I was having major issues staying asleep and would be up for hours during the middle of the night. I did a post on my sleep ritual earlier this year on my blog and am adding the link here: https://www.thiscurvyworld.com/sleep-for-menopause/
Creating a ritual isn't just for women in menopause but can help anyone with sleep issues.
I live in Colorado and struggled for years with middle of the night insomnia - I would go to sleep easily by 8pm but would be awake around 2/3am for about an hour (it felt like an eternity). It all got much worse when I hit menopause. I tried all kinds of solutions (melatonin, magnesium, TCM, custom herbal blends from a local apothecary, etc.) but after trying everything I found that 2mg of THC (in edible form) lets me sleep straight through the night and no grogginess in the morning. I know its not legal everywhere but for me it was a godsend. I don't take it every night as I am not sure what the long term effects might be (not a doctor here folks!) but I can't function without good sleep so its a worthwhile trade off for me.