#26: The 3am Waking

You’re waking up every night. And let me guess…right around 3am? Sometimes it takes HOURS to fall back asleep. If it’s an external problem you can easily fix, that’s great. But if it’s an internal problem…it’s likely related to a dysregulated stress response. In this episode I share my personal sleep story and some of my best tools and ideas for improving your sleep situation.

You’ll hear about:

  • External vs. internal sleep issues
  • How 3am wakings are connected to “adrenal fatigue”
  • Why I didn’t sleep for roughly 8 years
  • My favorite sleep tools

Related links:

Some people have sleep masks.

I have sleep goggles. No joke! They have rings that go around your eyes so no light sneaks in. It is BRILLIANT.

They’re kind of funny looking, admittedly. And leave a weird imprint on my face. It takes awhile for that to go away so I’m not big on early morning Zoom calls. 

But I have tried everrrrrrry sleep mask out there and… 

These. Are. The. Winner.

When I’m inside my sleep goggles (that’s not what they’re actually called, it’s just what I call them) I’m in my own world. Coupled with a pair of earplugs and….wooooo! 

That’s gonna be a good night’s sleep.


Not always.

Sometimes sleep problems arise because of our external environment. 

Too much light. Too much noise. Someone hogging the covers or kicking us in the middle of the night. Snoring. It’s too hot. Too cold. You name it.

And many times, sleep problems are internal problems.

There’s no sleep mask for that.

For example, one internal reason for waking during the night is blood sugar imbalance. 

Really…consider any sort of imbalance. When things aren’t in balance they aren’t easy or restful. There’s struggle. There’s teetering. 

And that’s the opposite of sleep mode.

I didn’t sleep for roughly 8 years.

Well, no decent sleep. I would wake suddenly around 3am every night, in a cold sweat, sheets drenched, a ball of nerves in my belly, heart racing. 

Full on panic.

That 3am waking thing is very common among women. It goes like this… 

You fall asleep ok, but then BOOM it’s 3am, you’re wide awake and can’t fall back asleep. I hear this complaint from women all the time – especially when they’re a little strung out on stressful emotions. 

This type of waking is often associated with “adrenal fatigue.” I talked about that here.

Here’s what I can tell you about sleep.

Sleep issues are VERY likely related to the deeper issue of an overactive stress response. 

While you’re awake you can pretend that everything is ok and you’re fine. 

But at night, when your conscious mind is at rest, your subconscious is like, ohhhhh heck no, we’re not ok. We’re on high alert all the time over here, 24/7, we are NOT resting. Wake up, sister!

Basically, your stress response (which is a biological process) gets stuck in the “on” position. 

You may notice that sitting down to relax is hard. It’s difficult to chill out and do nothing because you’re go-go-go all the time. 

Pssst…is this you? If so, I want you to take this free quiz. It will help you see if you’re experiencing “normal” stress (which everyone has) or if your symptoms (like sleep trouble!) point towards the fact that you are in a burnt-out state, stuck in your stress response, and could benefit from a much smarter approach than simply…you know, wearing a sleep mask at night. Like, a sleep mask isn’t going to make a huge difference if the root cause of your sleep issues is chronic stress. Not even if they’re sleep goggles, know what I mean? Go take that free quiz now.

Now, let’s be honest. Shifting the body out of its stress response may not be something you can do by tonight. But you can start by ruling out any external factors interrupting your sleep. 

My favorite sleep tricks & tools

Ok, you already know about the sleep goggles! ha! And the ear plugs. Yes! Get those.

You also can consider white noise. This is easy – there are white noise apps you can get on your phone. There are also sleep headphones you can wear if you want to hear the white noise but your sleep partner does not. They’re really comfortable – it’s a band that goes around your head and the speakers are flat against your ear. I suppose you could listen to anything that way…white noise, a meditation, an Audible book, whatever.

Let’s not forget my very favorite thing…a weighted blanket. Oh my. I call it my boyfriend blanket. Not that any boyfriend I’ve ever had only weighed 15-20 lbs…. I suppose an arm draped over you might be about that weight though. It’s incredibly comforting. I found mine at Target and I’ve even seen them at the grocery store for like $20 so no need to buy the ones online for $150.

I’ve also got a bunch of tinctures and pills that have sometimes helped with sleep: 

But ultimately what fixed my sleep was fixing the state of stress I was under. 

Know what? In just a couple of weeks I’m going to be offering something quick and fun to HELP you take very real, very tangible steps to turn off your stress response AND lift your spirits AND help you feel lighter AND very likely help you sleep better. 

Could you use this?

Keep your eye out for the next episode where I’ll introduce you to my Lift program. You’re going to be able to participate FOR FREE. 

And that’s coming real soon. Wink.

If you enjoyed the audio version, be sure to subscribe to the She’s Got Power podcast on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. Love what you hear? Please share with your friends and leave a review on iTunes so more women can finally overcome the health issues associated with chronic stress and burnout.