If you're a horror fan, you've probably seen a few movies where 3am has some significance to the plot. Also known as the witching hour, 3am is when dark things happen. Demons and hellish forces are at their strongest. 3:00 am is when we're unprotected and there's no one watching over us. The door is unlocked for Satan to come in. Especially if you wake up. So, is the 3am myth just a horror movie trope, or is there more to it?
Do you tend to wake up at 3 am? 3 am is a time frequently selected by horror writers for a reason. It's not uncommon for people to take up at 3, simply based on our circadian rhythm. So, if we have an "unexplained" tendency to wake up at 3 am, and we know that it's supposed to be the witching hour, it's the perfect plot device. It's the darkest point in the middle of the night that frightens us. We're vulnerable and wide awake in the dark.
It mocks the holy trinity. If you've read up on the devil or demonology a lot, you know that Satan is all about trickery and, in some cases, nasty jokes. Choosing 3 am to be the evilest time of day, according to some, could be the devil's way of giving the middle finger to the holy trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Numbers play a huge role in the bible.
Another FU to Jesus. Another theory is that 3 am was chosen as the witching hour because it is the opposite of 3 pm. 3 pm is supposedly when Jesus died on the cross. So, think of 3 am as being the time equivalent of turning a cross upside down.
Ray Bradbury. Iconic author Ray Bradbury once wrote that the human body is at low tide at 3 am. He also said that more humans die in hospitals at 3 am than at any other time.
The door is open. Some view 3 am as being the time when a portal between our world and a darker world is open. A channel of communication exists, like having a seance. However, communication goes both ways.
Everything is more frightening. Do you ever wake up, still in a dream-like state, and glance at your phone to see what time it is, and it's around 3? For some of us, everything is much more frightening then. A door creaks, the curtains flutter, a shadow falls a certain way...it's much more unsettling than it would be if it were to happen at a different time.
Primal fear. Even as adults, with logical minds, we still have primal fears. There are things that will always frighten us. That uneasy sensation you get when your foot dangles off the side of the bed.
Childhood. Perhaps, when we wake up in the middle of the night, we are reminded of the things that used to scare us as children. The monster under the bed, the strange noise coming from the closet. We want to get up to get a drink of water, but we are just too frightened.