Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Anyone got a matchstick?

Yet again elusive sleep evades my clutching senses.

You know the feeling.  Eyes heavy, weighed down with the need for sleep, yet as soon as your head touches the pillow your mind starts to race.

I wish it was possible to claim that my thoughts were full of rare pearls of wisdom, that inspiration suddenly strikes, that solutions to day-time problems are made crystal clear.

Instead, there is the usual reluctant realisation that here is yet another wide-eyed night, usually hot on the heels of a couple of others.

Reading works for a while, then the usual sense of frustration as the hours tick by becomes a need to get up and walk about.

Today (or rather yesterday), was cold and wet and by the time I had stood and got further soaked and chilled at the bus stop, October felt like January.

My guilty reward for suffering such treatment from the elements is to make a huge mug of hot chocolate as soon as I get in.  This is not something for the faint hearted, consisting of no less than 3 spoonfuls of Greene and Blacks with 2 piled teaspoons of muscovado sugar.

I never take sugar in anything else, but somehow this combination is so totally decadent that it fills even my need for comfort.

Sadly, as I get older my self-indulgences grow more numerous by the day (I dread to think what type of centenarian I'll make), and the ease with which I give in to them increases hourly.

But, I digress, the hot sweet drink was followed by an overwhelming need to sleep and never one to deny temptation its full effect I did just that.

Do you think perhaps a two-hour sleep in the afternoon could have had something to do with tonight's insomnia?  No, surely not?

In a few hours I'll be heading back to St. M's pale-faced, red-eyed and needing to be be on top form.  Still working on the formula for that one.

I have a nephew who works for a National newspaper and who does all kinds of weird shifts, as do many other people, I know.  They seem to be a different species from me and I am filled with admiration for the way they contrive to function with seriously disturbed sleep patterns.

About a year ago the choir at St M's were really busy with a lot of extra services and I found the sheer volume of work overpowering, so much so, that during one service I actually dropped off to sleep during the sermon (which was very long) and woke with a jump as the organist played the opening bars of the anthem.
Luckily only one person noticed and would have woken me if the organ hadn't.

Tiredness is a way of life for me but none the less irritating just because I'm used to it.

People say "well, you obviously don't need much sleep", and "it doesn't really matter, you're retired, it's not as if you had to get up early".

The temptation not to get up in the morning is not one I dare give in to.  Definitely the first step down the slippery slope.  But oh it would be nice to have a whole week of 'good'  nights.

I'll stop whining and go back to bed .  You never know, I ,might have a nice nightmare!


  1. I, too, suffer from such sleepless nights -- tonight is one of them. I seem able to get two hours at a time. I find that if I just get up and wander around -- fix a cup of tea, have something to eat (but no sugar -- sugar seems to make the problem worse)I can fall asleep -- especially if my body temperature drops a I'm starting to feel chilly. Any way, commiserations and cheers from one sleepless creature to another! ;-)

  2. Raises baggy-eyed face, attempts cheerless smile, fractures jaw!
    Thanks Broad, always a grim pleasure in knowing there are fellow sufferers out there.
    Good luck with today.

  3. So sorry you've been having so many bad nights, Ray. I get them occasionally, but unfortunately can't resort to the internet during them, as the router lives in DH's room.

    Have you tried having the hot, sweet drink at bedtime? I'm a confirmed hot milky drink person at bedtime.

  4. No no and no, thank you, to the hot sweet drink at bedtime
    Two excellent reasons: 1, I hate milk and 2, if I drink
    before bedtime I have to get out even more than the usual 3 or 4 times a night, which would make a mockery of any attempt to sleep at all.
    Do you perhaps remember the clog entitled "drink your milk it's good for you" that I wrote last year some time?
    I am told your recommendation works well for a lot of people, sadly it wouldn't for me.

  5. ps You will see I typed clog instead of blog, Freudian slip or tiredness typo?

  6. Hi Jane. Yes I tried a few of the most tried and trusted ones but found they needed to be consumed in industrial quantities to have any affect, and always had some sort of side-affect too. For instance those that contain valerian gave me a rash and so on.
    In the end I think despite my regular blog bleats about the 'red-eye' syndrome, it is just something I have to live with. and I do.

  7. I would love to be able to add a pearl of wisdom here or some good advice.....however as it is 04.30 am where I am & I am up trying to get rid of the nightmare that awoke me. I can't try reading as the light would wake up Pete, any noise in the kitchen will wake up my youngest who sleeps next door. I came into the lounge to try & doze on the sofa & the dog grumbled at me for disturbing him. So I am here, thankful for your blog to help me pleasantly pass the time until it is time to get on with our day.

    I hope tonight brings you sweetdreams & rest x

  8. Shona, if only you knew how many 'pearls of wisdom' have come my way over the years, and still I'm an insomniac.
    Lesson there don't you think?
    Seriously, if there was some sort of magic remedy out there at my age I think I'd have encountered it by now.
    Fortunately I do get some reasonably good nights but, like you, I also have nightmares. Sad old lot aren't we?

  9. Ray, this may be completely crazy, but have you had your B12 levels checked? My DH became very tired during the day, especially when he was working full time, ye thten was 'overtired' and couldn't sleep.

    Eventually our GP discovered that his body doesn't manufacture B12 so he has an injection about every two months.

    Also, our daughter bought us a product called "Deep sleep pillow talk", made by 'thisworks'. It is a pillow spray and a roll on product for wrists 'to help you breathe more deeply and stress less'. It has helped when I can't sleep, often body is tired when brain is still buzzing especially after an interesting day.

  10. It's an interesting idea PixieMum. As a vegetarian I am aware that my diet, however carefully balanced may lack B12 and I take a daily supplement for just that reason.
    I think my problems are psychological rather than physical but thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Relate to your problem. It does appear that anyone who (has) daydreams can't "switch off" at night when they go to bed. I had a heck of a time trying to keep down a job with only 4 - 5 hours sleep a night. Things that helped were, when in bed focus on something you really like, get up and do something (eat, 20 mins on the PC, walk about the room, etc) then pop back to bed or in a last resort take a 1/2 of a Xanax. I also find that if I've had a really busy day and relax a couple hours before going to bed (usually watching some check flick or some such like) gets me a minimum 6 hours. I've just retired so don't need to worry about the length of my sleep because I can always go back to bed when I feel tired. Good luck.........

  12. Hello Chris
    There is a certain (rather spiteful) pleasure in knowing there are other sufferers out there, but in real terms I have not yet had one single suggestion that has made even an ounce of difference.
    I've been retired 20 years, work in the parish Office of a local church 3 mornings a week, sing in the choir, attend all the services, garden, read, blog etc.
    Busy or lazy seems to make no difference.
    Don't know what Xanax is but don't take tablets.
    Have had 6 hours sleep about twice in 30 years so won't hold my breath.
    Nice to hear from you.