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The same thing happens every night. Suddenly, at 3 am, our internal alarm clock goes off, we wake up for no apparent reason and, what is even worse, all those unfulfilled tasks come to mind, all those pending assignments and those various anxieties that we keep in lethargy during the day. Conclusion? We enter a state of anxiety that prevents us from going back to sleep. And things get even more complicated at key moments such as season or time changes.

Why at 3 o'clock or, rather, in the time slot that goes from that hour to 5 am? The mystery has several

fabulous explanations

(some speak of the devil, others of the angels) but we are going to stay with the one that Gemma Sansa gives us, a neurologist at AdSalutem Sleep Institute specialized in the treatment of sleep disorders, and, on everything, with the possible solutions that it offers us.

Why, suddenly, there is an hour (about 3 o'clock) in which we wake up? It should be clarified that we do not sleep in the same way throughout the night, but we go through different phases. The first half we do with a higher percentage of non-REM sleep, which is a deeper and more restful sleep for the body, and the second, REM sleep, which is more fragile, so we tend to wake up more in that time frame. What has happened up to that moment? How has our sleep been? At night we have between four and six sleep cycles, lasting approximately 90 to 120 minutes each. The first cycles are mostly non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is divided into three phases: the first (N1) is transitional only; the second (N2) is the majority (50% of the night more or less);and the third is what we call deep sleep (N3), the one from which it is difficult to wake up and, if we do, we may find ourselves confused. At this point, why is it so difficult for us to go back to sleep? What can we do? Once we have passed this first part of sleep, if we wake up (to go to the bathroom, due to some noise or some sleep disorder) we can feel that we are already rested and that it is difficult for us to fall asleep again. If so, we should avoid looking at the clock, getting nervous or forcing ourselves to stay in bed if we are awake, as this can cause anxiety and, therefore, greater difficulty in falling asleep.Why do all of our problems often come to mind and how can we handle it? The time we spend awake in bed can be very distressing if we do not manage it correctly. Actively trying to fall asleep is difficult and often frustrating, so spending hours awake immobile and without any activity leads us to think about those problems that we have not been able to solve during the day. If we cannot get back to sleep, it is better to get out of bed and try to do simple and routine tasks that do not involve the use of screens, and that prevent negative thoughts from appearing that prevent us from sleeping. A reading that does not keep us very stimulated would be the ideal. Also, relaxation or meditation exercises are very useful in these situations.And what do we do to get to sleep? A good strategy is to have good sleep habits. This implies having regular hours; avoid the consumption of toxins and stimulants; avoid the use of screens at night; avoid stressful situations as much as possible before going to bed; promote physical exercise, especially in the middle of the afternoon - if possible - and try not to sleep during the day. If it is a situation of acute insomnia, the most advisable thing is to go to a specialist who will tell us how to avoid acquiring inappropriate strategies that contribute to the chronification of the disorder.What will our sleep be like when, finally, we manage to reconcile it again? During the second half of the night, and, more markedly with aging, sleep is more fragile,so we can have more tendency to wake up. We must control external factors as much as possible (that the space where we sleep has a comfortable temperature and is calm and silent) and always rule out sleep diseases that can facilitate fragmentation (such as sleep apneas or restless legs). What point does the change of time or season make the situation worse? With the change of season some people may feel more fatigued or discouraged and this has a negative impact on sleep. In a recent study on the impact of the seasons on sleep, the clearest seasonal effect was shown to be earlier awakening and less sleep time in early spring.We must control external factors as much as possible (that the space where we sleep has a comfortable temperature and is calm and silent) and always rule out sleep diseases that can facilitate fragmentation (such as sleep apneas or restless legs). What point does the change of time or season make the situation worse? With the change of season some people may feel more fatigued or discouraged and this has a negative impact on sleep. In a recent study on the impact of the seasons on sleep, the clearest seasonal effect was shown to be earlier awakening and less sleep time in early spring.We must control external factors as much as possible (that the space where we sleep has a comfortable temperature and is calm and silent) and always rule out sleep diseases that can facilitate fragmentation (such as sleep apneas or restless legs). What point does the change of time or season make the situation worse? With the change of season some people may feel more fatigued or discouraged and this has a negative impact on sleep. In a recent study on the impact of the seasons on sleep, the clearest seasonal effect was shown to be earlier awakening and less sleep time in early spring.In a recent study on the impact of the seasons on sleep, the clearest seasonal effect was shown to be earlier awakening and less sleep time in early spring.In a recent study on the impact of the seasons on sleep, the clearest seasonal effect was shown to be earlier awakening and less sleep time in early spring.

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