5 Reasons you’re waking up after 5 hours of sleep

October 9, 2020 4 mins read
5 Reasons you’re waking up after 5 hours of sleep

Do you try your best to get more than 5 hours sleep, but lose the battle most nights?

It can be frustrating to go to bed with the best of intentions (to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep), but somehow always waking up before you even hit the 6-hour mark.

We understand.

So why do you wake up after only 5 hours of sleep a night?

5 things causing you to stay awake after 5 hours of sleep

If you’re wondering why you wake up after only 5 hours of sleep, we are here to provide some clarity.

Sleep insomnia

Sleep insomnia can make you wake up after only 5 hours of sleep. It can make sleeping until a reasonable time seem nearly impossible. Forget about sleeping in on the weekend.

Going to bed too early

Going to bed too early can throw your sleep-wake cycle (known as your circadian rhythm) out of rhythm. While everyone’s sleep needs are different, most of us need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you go to bed too early and wake up too early, it can start a domino effect and throw your body clock out of sync.

Circadian rhythm out of sync

Going to bed too early is not the only thing that can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Other things that can affect your sleep-wake cycle are:

  • Not getting enough sunlight exposure
  • Watching TV or using your mobile phone before bed
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Eating late at night

Dealing with stress

Stress could be why you wake up after only 5 hours. Stress causes a rise in cortisol. When cortisol levels skyrocket in your sleep, it can wake you up.

Difficulty falling and staying asleep can be caused by symptoms associated with stress, such as:

  • Your mind racing and struggling to quiet down
  • Having a rapid heart rate
  • Digestive distress caused by stress
  • Feeling restless and sweaty

Low blood sugar levels

Blood sugar levels can drop during the night. This can spike cortisol, which can wake you up. If you consistently wake up around the same times, it could be because your blood sugar levels usually drop around that time.

Speak to your doctor if you suspect your blood sugar might be to blame.


It is easier than ever to become overstimulated. Clutter scattered around your room, as well as lights from digital devices, a noisy environment, and a mind that won’t quiet down, can make you feel overstimulated and overwhelmed.

You want to go to bed and wake up in a peaceful environment that won’t leave you feeling overstimulated.

How do you survive on 5 hours of sleep?

You can survive on only five hours of sleep. But surviving and thriving are two different things.

Many people believe that 5 hours of sleep is enough for them. You can wake up and feel like you can power through the day. You can complete everything on your to-do list and successfully reach the end of the day after only 5 hours of sleep.

But even if you aren’t falling asleep at work or feel like a zombie during the day, there might be side effects of waking up after only sleeping for 5 hours that you’re not aware of, such as:

  • Hormone disruption, especially ghrelin (your hunger hormone), human growth hormone, cortisol and insulin
  • An increase in your appetite, which you might overlook because you’ve been sleep-deprived for a long time
  • Impaired memory (maybe you aren’t a forgetful person, perhaps you’re just sleep-deprived)
  • Accelerated aging

Signs you aren’t getting enough sleep

Here are some signs to look out for to see if you’re not getting enough sleep:

  • You wake up feeling tired and exhausted.
  • You have more food cravings because sleep deprivation spikes levels of ghrelin.
  • You’re feeling more anxious than usual.
  • You’ve been feeling a little moody.
  • You feel the need to nap every day.

Moving from 5 to 6 hours of sleep will already make a big difference in improving your health.

If you snooze, you don’t lose. Sleeping enough and improving your sleep quality are arguably the best things you can do for your wellness.