Why do I keep waking up at 3:30?

Ever since I moved to the west coast I have, more often than not, woken up at 3:30am. It doesn’t happen every night, but it’s fairly reliable. I can understand not being able to sleep the whole night through- but I’d say 90% of the time, if I wake up, I know the alarm clock is going to read 3:30, +/- 8 minutes.

When I do wake up, I’m suddenly wide awake, and it’s a good 30 minutes at least 'til I can go back to sleep- although sometimes I stay awake the rest of the night, as is the case this morning.

It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed- I’ve gone to bed as early as 9pm, or as late as 1pm (as I did last night).

The weird thing is that, when I lived in Texas, I would always wake up at 5:30- exactly the two-hour difference between here and there.

I mean, what the hell’s going on? I could understand if I could only get a certain number of hours’ sleep in a row… but why do I always wake up at the same time, even with timezone changes?

Sleep is really weird shit. I have just come home from travelling for weeks. Where ever I went I would go to bed and wake up about 1 or 2 hours later to go to the toilet. I never do this at home - I go to sleep and wake up in the morning with no interruptions.

One possibility is a regularly timed noise, which could wake you without making you consciously aware of its presence. Is there a railway near you? A passing train at 3:30 or thereabouts might be the culprit, or perhaps a next-door neighbour who comes home and slams a door around 3:30. It is entirely conceivable that such noises could wake you, without you having been aware that you heard anything.

Excuse me if I sound indelicate, but when you wake up, does your bottom itch? If so, you could have pinworms

bizzwire you do realize Dopers across the globe will be staring at their bedroom ceilings tonight trying to decide if their butt itches.

It’s simple! You’re an “East Coast Spirit”, and are just getting up for work at 6:30AM!

Actually, I’ve no clue, but I seem to have the same problem, but it’s 4:45AM Eastern for me. Still can’t figure out why/what wakes me up, so I go to the bathroom (I’m up anyway, preventative piss), then right back to sleep.

I have the same problem, but I live on the east coast and it’s around 3:00 AM. Correspondingly, when I worked I usually felt sleepy around 3:00 PM. Anyway, it may be due to your need to urinate. Or maybe not. I get up, take a piss, and go back to bed, where I toss and turn for half an hour or so before nodding off. But the thing is I don’t worry about it.

Is there any way you could get a tape recorder and connect it to a timer set to turn on @ 3:00 or so?
Especially if your bed isn’t really comfortable it doesn’t take much to wake you up after you’ve had some sleep. It could be someone else’s alarm.

It’s the aliens! Get your tinfoil hat! :eek:

OK, for real: you set yourself up mentally / physiologically to wake up at 5:30 every morning while living on the West Coast. Now you’ve moved to the West Coast, there’s a two-hour time difference, and your internal body clock (the Circadian rhythm) hasn’t caught up yet.

Wikipedia gives some good advice for dealing with jet lag, which is what this is linked to…

As someone who suffered from the affliction when she was a child, I can assure you that anyone who has pinworms doesn’t have to try to decide if their butt itches. It’s rather immediately apparent.

I don’t believe jet lag lasts more than a few days.
Have you checked for a pea under your mattress?

Thanks guys. No my butt doesn’t itch. :slight_smile:

I should elaborate- in Texas, I’d wake up every morning around 5:30am… and then go back to sleep 'til 8am. Here, I’m two hours ahead- I wake up at 3:30am, toss and turn for a bit, go back to sleep… and then wake up at 8am. I usually don’t need to urinate, so that’s not the deal. I don’t think there’s a noise that wakes me up, but I’d be surprised if there was- it’s a very quiet neighborhood.

I don’t really mind waking up too much. It’s just kind of creepy that it’s always at the same time. Didn’t that happen in that old “Amityville Horror” movie? :slight_smile:

Try Melatonin.