Currently I go to bed at 9:30pm and wake up at 6am. However, besides the nights my kids wake me up (can't help that) I always wake up between 3-4am usually to pee but sometimes I just wake up. I can usually fall back asleep, but there are occasions when it takes an hour or so. I've tried limited my water, I've tried not eating and eating close to bed time, I've tried GABA, and I currently take Natural Calm an hour before bed time. My last meal is usually 6-630pm. I have darkened my room the best I can but my wife is not comfortable keeping the door closed because she is afraid she will not hear our infant son, so it's not pitch dark. I am not waking up feeling refreshed, instead I feel tired and sluggish. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
This is your body's natural rhythm. It's nothing to be worried about. I usually wake up at 1:30 am to pee and then go back to sleep. If nobody posts about this in a clearer sense before I do I'll get you an article describing the phenomenon.
This is described as segmented sleep and is common in pre-industrial societies who go to sleep at good hours like you and sleep in darkness like you.
"Until the modern age, most households had two distinct intervals of slumber, known as "first" and "second" sleep, bridged by an hour or more of quiet wakefulness. Usually, people would retire between 9 and 10 o'clock only to stir past midnight to smoke a pipe, brew a tub of ale or even converse with a neighbor."
New York times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19ekirch.html?_r=2
Also interesting, Craked "7 things you didn't know you were doing wrong" which linke me to the NYT article and has another reference about sleep: http://www.cracked.com/article_19121_7-basic-things-you-wont-believe-youre-all-doing-wrong.html
I'm trying to hack my sleep too and I'm finally seeing some success. I would either have the dreaded voices keeping me from going to sleep or waking up multiple times at night. I too, felt like a zombie most mornings. BTW: I've had sleep problems all my life.
Here is what has helped the past 9 days:
No alcohol at night. (I loves me some wine but it would kill my sleep)
Sleep mask. Invest in a good one.
10 minutes of yoga-like stretching about 30 minutes before bedtime. Make this some deep breathing, deep stretching and do your best to clear your mind.
Melatonin about an hour before bed (you'll have to figure out the timing that is right for you)
These have worked tremendously for me. When I was married I couldn't sleep well with my partner. I know many of us who sleep in separate beds and while I'm no longer married, this was absolutely not the cause of our parting. Some of us just sleep better without another body in bed. Have you given this a try? Just as an experiment.
What's the light source outside your room? Can you get rid of it?
All the light issues in my room come from outside, and I've found a sheet folded and nailed to the wall over the window helps (as would curtains, but the gap between the curtain rod and the wall always lets light in).
How active are you during the day? Doing a workout some hours before going to sleep might work. Just 30 Push-ups for time could get you asleep. I feel way more tired in the evening if I worked out that day, even if it was in the morning. And working out obviously has more benefits ;)
Any caffeine before bed? Pretty obvious, but you never know :p
Food-related possibilities I'll leave to the experts, which I'm not even remotely. But try a workout, it gets me sleeping :)
I used to have the same problem until I realized it was because my blood sugar was dropping low in the middle of the night. I heard that Tim Ferriss suggests eating some almond butter right before bed to stabilize blood sugar throughout the night. I started making some homemade protein bars out of almond butter, protein powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and coconut flakes.. I eat one before bed and it has helped me sleep better. Could be placebo effect but who knows. I know alot of people support the intermittent fasting idea, but to me IF should only be experimented with after everything else is in check. If you are having trouble sleeping, you should get that in order before you start fasting.. just my opinion.
Also, how much caffeine do you take?
This has been asked a number of times and usually one can expect the same responses that come down to "Good Sleep Hygiene", which were probably devised by somebody at Cosmopolitan.
Try something different. Our ancestors didn't sleep in complete darkness, and I don't know why people here think that they did. Sleep exposed to some natural source of light. If there is artificial light you encounter too, then use some of those blue-light blocking sunglasses. Sleep on a harder surface, possibly the ground or a mat on the floor. Have some kinds of noises in the room. It can be natural noises if you want, like one of those CDs of the sound of waves, etc.
I suspect at first you will have problems sleeping like this but that you will adapt with time and become a better sleeper. By creating a pristine sleeping environment (can't hear a pin drop, completely black, completely soft mattress, etc. etc. you are setting your body to be overly-sensitive and your body will wake up every time an ant crawls across the room.
Read this article
Think about it.