Also, if you're waking up too early, it could also be due to either blood sugar dropping low or adrenals. I'm not an expert on either, but the blood sugar dropping was covering in the book 'Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st Century Syndrome' and in Tim Ferriss' book 'The 4-Hour Body'. I took both books out of the library; maybe they're available at yours...anyway, even if they aren't, they both basically say that you should eat something with protein and fat for your late evening meal.
Some people in other 'sleep' threads mentioned that they sleep better when they included starches in their evening meal, and one person said he slept better taking a spoonful of honey right before bed. The link below is interesting, and seems to work for some people (but didn't for me):
My own personal experience is that when I was intermittent fasting, if I skipped dinner, my sleep was either very disrupted or I couldn't sleep at all.
I have read that if you wake up too early, one thing to try is not to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, because if you do, you are training your body to prepare hunger signals during the early morning hours, which could end up waking you up prematurely.
Eating a HUGE meal right before bedtime gave me problems. So since I generally don't eat a lot of fat during the day, I eat my higher carb stuff for breakfast and lunch, and whatever fat I'm eating during the day I save for dinner. I've also been experimenting with eating dinner at different times, and for me eating between 6-7pm seems to be the best.
My husband also switched to eating during this window (he used to eat between 9-10pm) and taking HCl/Pepsin supplements to improve his low stomach acid issue, and surprisingly it's led to better sleep for him...I know it sounds weird that digestion would be linked with sleep, and if your issue is waking up too early, it's probably not due to digestion, but something to think about.
It could be worth experimenting with the macro make-up and timing of your evening meal to see how changes might affect your sleep.
Roy Masters has a meditation/relaxation technique that always works for me, you can simply lay there and visualize your right hand and become in tune with the feel and pulse of blood flowing through each finger, visualizing each finger tip, bam I'm out to sleep.....
If 4am is your internal clock's wakeup time, try going to bed earlier. Use that early morning time to do the things you would have done in the evening.
Also, consider that sleep is cyclical. Nobody sleeps a solid 8 hours without waking. There are different phases of sleep. Your issue isn't necessarily that your sleep is disrupted or cut short...its [I]the ability to return to sleep[/I] that is disrupted.
4am is my "anxiety hour"...for whatever reason if I'm going to be awake in the night, this is the hour I will wake up in a cold sweat, with my brain churning with whatever my stressors happen to be at the time. I can return to sleep eventually, with some relaxation/self hypnosis type tricks. If all else fails, I will get up and do something until I feel tired or my brain calms down.
[quote]I do a fair amount of exercise, but my main workouts are by necessity in the evening and actually tend to have the opposite effect in that I often don't sleep well after workouts.[/quote]
Would you be able to double your cool down and stretch time after a workout & add some one-sided exercises to it (like balancing on one foot, etc) Ferris recommends it. I haven't tried it yet, but I am planning to.
Cold exposure did not work for me, just for the reference. The only result of CT for me was that I delayed going to bed in fear of having to have a shower and in the mornings I was hiding in bed, again, in fear of the cold water blast. There is only so much my willpower can handle, lol. Now I satisfy myself with a cold blast after steam room & that's it. Doesn't do anything for sleep.
From ferris recommendations, the candellight at night and cold room are the only ones that imo helped me some.
[QUOTE=Leida;1030544]Would you be able to double your cool down and stretch time after a workout & add some one-sided exercises to it (like balancing on one foot, etc) Ferris recommends it. I haven't tried it yet, but I am planning to.
Good idea - thanks. My trainer has recently started me doing some one-sided stuff already, as I'm pretty one-sided and my balance isn't fantastic - single legged deadlifts and some plyometrics - so adding some other exercises to cooldown would fit well.
I'm all for a cold room - can't bear being to warm at night...have a tendency to sleep with my feet sticking out of the bed, even in the dead of winter!
I averaged about 5 hours of sleep a night, and never napped during my working years. I had insomnia ever since i can remember. I learned how to meditate, and when I felt sleep-deprived I could meditate myself to sleep. But that takes a lot of concentration and usually didn't do it often.
As you age, your production of Melitonin(sp) decreases. Here you can get Melitonin without a prescription. It seems to help. Melitonin is the hormone that regulates the circadian rythm. However, mostly what helps is massive stress reduction. That took 1 year. I had no idea how stressed I was, I didn't realize it.
Now I can and sometimes do sleep 14 hours a night, usually 10-12, or I can take maps. Now I love sleeping. While I was working I sort of saw it as a waste of time.
To the OP, 4 AM is right smack in the middle of the Lung Organ Time Frame within the Chinese Medical Circadian Rhythm Clock.
The time period that corresponds to the Lung Organ Energy are from 3AM to 5AM. Within this time frame the Lung energy is at its maximum peak. (Note: Everyone's Lung Energy is different and it doesn't necessarily mean that your Lung organ is "awesome" or "failing".)
You've mentioned in previous posts that you have some issues with your sinus and a 1999 diagnosis with asthma. I gather you're awaking at 4AM each night because your Lung Energy is too weak to anchor and sustain sleep through a longer duration.
My guess is if you further address your sinus issues and asthma, the insomnia may rectify.
Another interesting note to mention is that the emotional components related to the Lung Organ are sadness and grief. It's interesting the relationship here between the start of your sleep troubles coinciding with your 1999-ish diagnosis of asthma and then additional stressors with nursing your partner through illness and his passing.
Maybe this is all a coincidence? Or maybe everything is somehow related?
The Yang pair to the Lung organ is the Large Intestine. There is a big focus on current theory related to the "brain + gut" axis. Chris Kresser talks about this a lot. You can hear some of his [URL="http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-9"]podcasts[/URL] on this subject.
Anyway, the presence of Melatonin is 200-500 times greater in the gut than it is in our pineal gland. Now aside from Lung issues, do you have any gut issues? Constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating or pains?
If you do have concurrent gut issues, addressing them could also help rectify the sleep problem.
I didn't read all the posts so perhaps this has already been stated, and I apologize if I am being redundant. Most women do have problems with sleep in their mid-40s due to dropping levels of estrogen during the peri-menopausal phase of life. The hypothalamus has estrogen receptors and decreased estrogen makes it hard to stay asleep. This also contributes to those totally annoying night sweats many women experience in their 40's. One potential solution (although I recognize is controversial) is hormones - HRT if you are post menopausal and birth control if you aren't. While many will disagree with me, I am a strong advocate of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) because I am a neuropsychologist and I am most interested in decreasing my risk for dementia as I age (my mother had Alzheimer's and estrogen is brain protective, and there are estrogen receptors on the hippocampus-memory center - My mother also had breast cancer, but I'll take cancer over dementia). Prevention of dementia is one of the major reasons I am primal as well (genetic carriers of the apo e-4 gene - risk for Alzheimer's - in hunter gather societies do not show the increased risk for Alzheimer's disease). Anyway, if you are interested, I'd recommend you take hormones and see if your sleep improves - they also decrease risk for osteoporosis and many ailments if taken around the menopausal time frame as well - although increase risk for clots and hormone sensitive cancers. Good Luck!