June 1, 2023

Do you wake up at 3 AM or 4 AM and think about the problems you are having? It’s not unique and science explains why

If you wake up during the night, don’t you feel that the negative thoughts are getting more intense and that there will be no solution to any of your afflictions? For many people, this is a real problem, because when they wake up at dawn, they are “stuck” with painful and often irrational thoughts for long minutes or even hours, which in the morning are much diluted. Daily stress helps make this situation worse and can make you wake up more regularly, because in fear of the same thing happening in the following days, a pattern forms.

But why does this happen? Accordingly With Greg Murray, Professor and Director of the Center for Mental Health at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, around 3 or 4 a.m. — no matter what light enters the space — our bodies start to feel some difference, as basal body temperature (which is regulated by the hypothalamus) begins , which is the part of the brain responsible for thermoregulation) rises and the desire to sleep decreases.

In addition, the psychology researcher explains, “We are at our lowest point both physically and cognitively,” this is because this is the time when the body recovers from the physical and emotional assaults of the previous day. Also, levels of the sleep hormone, melatonin, have already peaked, but on the contrary, levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response, “rise as the body prepares to release us for the day.”

The mind does not look for a solution to problems at dawn

The researcher uses the word disaster to explain what is going on in our heads next. It is an idea automatically generated by the brain where reality is distorted and the person is pessimistic and negative about something that has already happened or is going to happen. Since there is no social worker at work, he explains, “we are left alone in the dark, with our thoughts.” At that moment, there is no solution to often unfounded fears.

In addition, people are made to focus so much on themselves and their problems, and act almost as a state of egocentrism. “By deliberating around the concept of ‘I’, we can create painful feelings, such as guilt or regret, or return to our thoughts about an always-obscure future,” advocates the expert.

Psychologist Jodi Humphreys defend Same idea on Shoalhaven Psychology Services, noting that “all the mistakes of the past and future catastrophes” that come to mind make it nearly impossible to go back to sleep. He explains that during this time, minds become overburdened and begin to relive moments from the past, such as a conversation with a co-worker, boss, or partner. “Did they understand what I said wrong? Did I offend them?”, for example.

“The reality is that our minds are not really looking for a solution at 3 am,” Murray says, adding that we may think we are solving problems at that time, but the truth is that the only thing that will happen is that we remain anxious and visualize the worst-case scenarios or possible outcomes in relation to by position. “Accept that you’re not in a good mental position to use your brain to solve anything at 3 a.m.,” says Jodi Humphries, for her part.

Stress can also cause disturbances in the circadian rhythm, our body’s natural biological rhythm, which alternates between sleep and wakefulness. However, some people may experience changes in this cycle, known as sleep-wake cycle disorders. When people get stressed because they don’t sleep on time, anxiety also increases and healthy sleep becomes more difficult.

Murray explains that the file Full focus of the mind It can be very positive to control these thoughts during the night: When you notice thoughts emerging, you direct your attention to the sound of your breathing, for example. He says that wearing earplugs can be helpful to better hear your breathing. If it does not work, the specialist says that a good solution is to turn on a dim light and read a little, as this will help to stop irrational thinking. In addition, Humphreys also recommends turning on the TV, but not on the cell phone or computer, as this will lengthen your wake-up cycle, and exercise during the week, most days.

If you feel that this problem is persistent and harms your health, or you cannot sleep at all, then you should consult a doctor who can recommend the most suitable specialist for your problem.