Why do I wake up at 0345 all of the time?

Anywhere close to one of these: http://www.24hourfitness.com/

One of those buildings that have a gym for the residents?
Mom’s been having that problem for over 30 years. One of the hardest things for her to learn about it was that getting up, peeing, then drinking half a glass of water and sitting down with a book worked better than staying in bed. Well, the second option simply didn’t work…

I will second this. When my depression is bad or untreated, I wake up at 3:45 everynight, also. For me, it’s a sign that I need to address my meds or do a quick stint in therapy.

Now that my depression is under control, the sound of my refridgerator kicking on was waking me up (I live in a one BR apartment). So I got a fan I run at low speed so it covers that noise.

I do concur with the other posters that it’s worth going to the doc to make sure there isn’t an underlying physical cause.

Seeing a doc is definitely a good idea. In the meantime, try to isolate the symptoms. If possible, try going to sleep an hour earlier than usual for a couple of days to see if you still wake up at 3:45AM - 4:15AM or if you start waking up at 2:45AM - 3:15AM.

uh, yeah, the thought of it. Actual hooded Grim Reapers don’t show up on film, silly.

Easy solution is to get a small fan for white noise.

Trust me. It costs you like 7 bucks to try it, and if it doesn’t work after a week I’ll eat my hat.

If you eat your hat, you’ll be up all night.

Melatonin is another sleep cycle reestablisher. Too long (for me more than 3-4 nights in a row) will kick in wild (but for me enjoyable) dreams. Other than than, no side effects.

I recently had a terrible bout of this. Oddly enough, what seemed to help was guaifenisin, an expectorant commonly sold under the brand name Mucinex. Some other things which were some help but didn’t solve the problem on their own were setting a cutoff time of how late I let myself eat anything, and a diphenhydramine decongestant.

Aside from medicating yourself, which many dopers above have recommended, and aside from determining that you don’t have emotional issues that are pressing on you, I recommend a different approach. I believe that for reasons that are sometimes impossible to determine, our sleep patterns change. But it is usually only temporary and you can break out of the pattern by determining that it’s not going to bother you. Your anxiety about thinking that you should be asleep is part of the problem. Don’t worry that you’re awake when you’re normally asleep, or when you’d prefer to be asleep. Just figure that if you need sleep badly enough, you’ll eventually go back to sleep. Keep a pencil and piece of paper next to your bed, too. If something IS on your mind, write it down and figure you’ll look at it in the morning since you can’t do anything about it at this time of night anyway. Then, lie there quietly, with your eyes closed. You’re getting rest, if not sleep, and eventually you’ll go back to sleep. The human brain and body are pretty good at getting sleep when there’s enough time to do it in. Trust that. You’ll get over it.

Things I find help me:

  1. Cut way, way down on caffeine. No more than half a cup of coffee per day (or half-caf, or tea) and never after lunchtime.
  2. Exercise… specifically resistance exercise, but don’t overdo it or you’ll end up sleeping too much.
  3. Tweak your phase-response curve… get bright sunlight within 2 hours of normal wakeup, take .5 to 1mg of melatonin 8 hours after normal wakeup
  4. Don’t overdo the fluids at dinnertime, so your bladder will be less likely to fill at night. Likewise, maybe eat a small, light snack at bedtime so you’ll be less likely to get hungry.
  5. This is probably the most important one… if you’re overweight, you’re probably suffering from sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder, and you’ll need a physician’s help to dael with it.

I’ve read that in pre-electricity days it was not uncommon for people to go to bed soon after night fall and sleep for just 3-4 hours. Then they got up for an hour or so – had a little to eat, read a book, puttered – then went back to bed and slept until day break.

Personally, I lived like that for several years: to bed at ten pm, woke up at 2 am. Mostly I read, but sometimes I wrote (journal) or balanced my checkbook or even went on line for a while. Then when I started yawning I went back to bed for a few more hours of sleep. I felt fine since I was actually getting enough sleep, just in two chunks instead of one.

I don’t know why I started that pattern, or why after a few years I started simply sleeping through. Perhaps there are several different ‘normal’ body rhythms and your system switches between them for unknown reasons.

Anyway, why not try accomodating the dividing sleep rhythm and see how it works for you? Go to bed early enough to allow for a couple of hours of wakefulness in addition to the 7/8 hours of sleep you want to get.

I bet the real key to feeling better will be simply not stressing over it so much.