5am insomnia

Something’s been going on, and I don’t know what.

I think I might be developing insomnia or something.

So, recently – as in since last week – I’ve been consistently waking up before my alarm. Usually there isn’t anything that wakes me up. I just wake up. Once I’m awake, my first thoughts are generally something along the lines of “Did my alarm go off yet? Did I just turn off my alarm and go back to sleep? Did I even set an alarm last night? Do I have to get up now?”

Most days, Monday to Friday, my alarm is set for some time between 5:35am and 6:15am, depending on when I’m meant to start work. These days, when I’ve been waking up before my alarm, I’ve been waking up around 5am. There was one morning when I woke up at 3am, but that only happened once.

Part of the problem is that, since it’s winter here now, the sun’s not really up until well after 6am, so if I wake up at 3am to pitch-black darkness, it looks just like what I’d expect at 5:42am. (I like to set my alarm to not-rounded times – mostly just for the heck of it, but also because it kind of feels like I’m giving myself a couple of extra minutes.)

Another part of the problem is that I only set one alarm, and I never snooze it. Once it’s off, that’s it. This is probably why I freak out when I wake up at 5am, and I think that I’ve turned off my alarm whilst half-asleep and inadvertently slept in. I know most people will set multiple alarms, or snooze multiple times before actually getting up, but just the thought of doing that annoys me. I’d rather just set my alarm for a realistic time and get up once it goes off.

Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

Funnily enough, on that night when I’d woken up at 3am (I was pretty awake when I woke up too – I was psyching myself up to get out of bed, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, ready to take on the world), when I realised it was only 3am and promptly went back to sleep, I actually then had a dream about being late for work. However, it doesn’t end there. I woke up again around 5am, went back to sleep, and then when my alarm went off at 5:39am, I turned it off, made a feeble attempt at pushing myself out of the fog of slumber … and then fell asleep again.

Fortunately, I only slept for an additional 20 minutes or so and, since I’d actually set my alarm a bit earlier than I needed to, I still made it to work on time (a bit early, in fact).

This morning wasn’t too bad, though. I reckon I would’ve slept right through until my alarm had it not been for someone pottering around the house at some ridiculously early hour. Furthermore, this morning when I woke up pre-alarm, I didn’t need to check my phone (alarm & clock is on my phone) – I was able to rationalise that my alarm had most definitely not gone off yet, and I could just go straight back to sleep.

Usually when there’s some disruption to one’s sleep pattern, such as what I’m experiencing, it’s associated with some other change or disruption e.g. stress/anxiety, change in work schedule, jet-lag, etc. In my case, I actually have no idea what the root cause is. Nothing has really changed; nothing is different. Well, nothing that I’ve noticed, anyway.

Despite what happened in my dream, I don’t think I’m actually overly worried about being late for work. I usually leave home with plenty of time to spare, and I’ll catch the early train in.

Maybe writing about this will help. I bet the blogosphere is filled with insomnia-inspired posts. Midnight to 3am mightn’t be a “peak” posting time, but I bet it’s pretty popular all the same.

Well, I’m going to go to bed now so, until next time, sweet dreams!