ZocdocAnswersWhy do I wake up every early morning and cannot fall back to sleep any more?

Question

Why do I wake up every early morning and cannot fall back to sleep any more?

I am a 43-year-old mother of a teenage girl. Since 2 years ago I began to have sleep disorder. I wake up at about 2 or 3 am every morning and cannot fall back to sleep again. I tried many ways to get rid of this problem. I tried allergy pills like Clariton and Benydrol, and also tried to go to bed late at 11:30 pm but none of those methods worked. I also took cold medicine that can make me drowsy but the next morning I feel groggy and tired and my kidneys hurt. Thank you very much for answering my question!

Answer

Sleep disturbances like this one can be very difficult problems to have. We like to divide insomnia into two categories. First problems with initiating sleep and second problems with staying asleep. It sounds like your problem lies in staying asleep. When a patient approaches me with this problem, the first condition that I screen for is depression. Depression can reek havoc on one's sleep especially after an early morning awakening. If you have been down at all lately, extremely stressed, or find yourself not enjoying the things that you used to enjoy, then I would want to start you on a treatment for depression. This alone would help restore your sleep to normal, if this was the cause of the problem. Generalized anxiety can also be the culprit in depriving people of sleep. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your description of your sleep problems and screen for any reasons why they may be occurring. If there is a treatable condition like depression that is found, you can move forward with treatment. If nothing is found, then your doctor can prescribe a medication such as Ambien that can help you stay asleep for a full 7-8 hours. Good luck.

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