DrKrause[at]HealthSourceIMC[dot]com

Fix your fatigue with Dr Krause, ND at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre: info@healthsourceimc.com

519-954-7950

227 Dumfries Ave
Kitchener, N2H 2E6
Canada

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Waking at 2am versus waking at 5am means different problems to address

 

 

So, you're waking up in the night? 

 

Different times of waking mean different problems, and sorting them out is the type of problem solving I do daily with my patients. 

 

If you wake up at 2am, the likely culprit is blood sugar. When blood sugar goes too low, the body sends out hunger signals - along with alarm signals. The person may experience this as sweating, jitteriness, heart palpitations - ie, anxiety! The alarm signals are sent out as adrenaline, so some people may just feel it as being wired in the middle of the night without knowing why. This pattern of 2am waking is common in some people when they have had alcohol in the evening. Alcohol causes blood sugar to rise and then drop off suddenly, within a 1-3 hour span. 

 

START NOW:  If you wake in the night like this, try a snack to help you fall back asleep. If this is a regular pattern, try a snack before bed - best is a medium handful of nuts, which has a balance of fat, fibre and protein to keep your blood sugar stable, longer. If this is a strong pattern, it is worth investigating why your blood sugar is prone to crashing. 

 

If you wake up at 5am, the culprit is likely cortisol. You're most commonly feeling wired, as if it's time to start the day, even though your alarm hasn't gone off yet. When I see cortisol spiking early in the day, the person is also usually more tired later on in the day. The goal is to calm down the cortisol overnight, so that it isn't active in the early mornings, and lets the person get those restful last few hours of sleep. 

 

START NOW:  cortisol and melatonin oppose each other in the body. Cortisol cannot be high when melatonin is being made properly at night. In order for the body to make melatonin, there needs to be absolute darkness in the room. I recommend covering or removing any glowing things from the bedroom, investing in blackout blinds (they can be fairly inexpensive), or using a sleep mask. 

 

If you are waking throughout the night, and the times aren't constant, there is more complexity to the issue - but of course it is still solvable!  This concern may be related to hot flashes, progesterone deficiency, or serotonin deficiency, as a few examples. 

 

Lastly, if someone is waking multiple times in the night to use the washroom, I know they are not sleeping DEEPLY enough. The body should be able ignore signals of a full bladder (within reason), while still maintaining sphincter function, and allow you to sleep. If those bladder signals are making it to your conscious mind, you are sleeping too lightly!  I use the number of nighttime trips to the bathroom as a marker for how well we are doing once we start working on improving quality of sleep. We cannot always increase duration of sleep, but we can certainly improve quality

 

Both patterns of blood sugar dysregulation and cortisol dysregulation can be rooted in adrenal fatigue (aka BURNOUT). They can be treated!  Sleep is a foundation for all other hormones and biochemistry of the body to work properly. Sleep is one of the first things to fix, if you're experiencing additional health concerns. 

 

 

 

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