Waking up in the middle of the night is not something very unusual. Very often, your slumber is broken for reasons unknown and you find yourself awake and a little perplexed in the eerie hours of the night. Now, in those dark hours, when your senses are a little hazy having just woken up, you often sense a chill around the atmosphere and you find it hard to keep your mind off thoughts that scare the heavens out of you.
Let’s find out the age old conceptions of horror associated with this time that has been instilled deep into our minds.
The Devil’s hour
It’s interesting to note how 3 a.m is considered to be the time when Devil, the arch-demon who leads the hell, is the strongest. It is believed that when the clock strikes 3 in the morning, the demons are at their strongest in connecting to the realm of our reality.
Although, the window closes by 3:59 a.m, the aura lasts till the first rays of sunlight peeps in the horizon. So, the next time you wake up at this hour, you’d have something to ponder upon.
The hour of the Anti-Christ?
Interestingly, 3 a.m is an hour that is an inversion to the time of Jesus Christ’s death. It is believed that Jesus died in the cavalry in the middle of the afternoon at 3 p.m. The time of Christ’s death is regarded to be a holy hour but 3 a.m, which is the exact opposite of the auspicious hour is believed to suggest a mockery of the holy trinity.
If you have seen The Conjuring…
3 am is often depicted as an unholy time in cinema. If you have seen The Conjuring, you’d remember the clock stopping at 3 in the morning and it is from there things that aren’t supposed to happen start taking place. Or, take The Amityville Horror for that matter where Ronald butchers his family as the clock strikes 3 or Exorcism of Emily Rose where Emily finds herself in inexplicable circumstances.
It is either that the film industry is feeding on your fears or that your fear is based completely on associations concocted by the entertainment industry.
Eminem’s 3 A.M…
If you have watched Eminem’s 3 a.m video, you’d find the reference to a satanic possession that has been depicted in it. In the video, Eminem finds himself in an altered state and goes into a mass killing spree inside a hospital. The ritualistic bloodbath, Eminem standing in the middle of two masonic pillars and his complete blackout from the memories of gruesome murders committed by him is all the reason to associate the piece of music and the video with the so called witching hour – a time of ritualistic human sacrifice in the world of witchcraft.
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In many ways, the religious myths, conspiracy theories and of course, pop culture have instilled a certain sense of fear surrounding this particular time bracket. Therefore, it is only natural to feel uneasy in the middle of the quiet late hours if our sleep is suddenly broken.
However, you have nothing to be scared of…
In reality, there is hardly any need of associating the supernatural to the phenomenon. Generally, you’d be in your REM sleep cycle during the time bracket. Your heart rate, cardiac pressure, breathing rate and arterial pressure becomes irregular at this time which is why you may feel anxious when you suddenly wake up at those odd hours.
The REM sleep stage can also cause psychological stimulation of sexuality with men and women often experiencing the erection of the penis and the clitoris along with vaginal lubrication which explains the stemming of the myths regarding Incubus and Succubus.
The sudden chill that you feel…
As for the eerie chill that a lot of people talk about, it can be explained with the following fact: At the time of REM sleep, the body temperature is not well-regulated. Therefore, organisms become sensitive to the temperatures beyond the thermoneutral zone which is the temperature tolerance zone of a warm-blooded organism.
In fact, it might just be the best time to wake up…
It is only a matter of association that makes you feel scared. If you were raised to believe that 3 a.m is actually an auspicious hour, you would have channelized your anxiety into something every-time you woke up. As a matter of fact, according to Kundalini Yoga, which is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra, the couple of hours before sunrise, is regarded as the “ambrosial hours”.
It is believed that “sadhana” practiced during these hours yields best results and the fact that many people wake up during this time is actually a call by the Universe to rise for prayer and meditation.