Tuesday, November 03, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance

PhotobucketWhen I retired, the first happy thought I had was, "Oh, goody, I don't have to go to bed so early any more!" For decades, I had been rolling out of bed by 6:00 a.m., in order to get to work. Now that I was retired, I could stop setting the alarm and sleep as late as I wanted to and go back to being the night owl I had always been.

Now, several years into my retirement, I seem to be in danger of getting my days and nights mixed up. I'm staying up later, and when I finally get to sleep, I can't stay that way. I wake up several times a night and just can't seem to stay in bed. I find myself wandering from room to room like Lady Macbeth and, most nights, end up dozing in my recliner until morning.

When my daughter was an infant, she got her days and nights mixed up, and my doctor told me to just make sure she was fed and her diaper was dry, then let her scream it out. He assured me it would only take a night or two. DJ, all too fortuitously, said he had to be out of town for a couple of days, taking depositions, and why didn't I let her scream those nights. Chicken. He just couldn't stand to hear her screaming and always gave up before I did, and ruined everything by picking her up. Then, he handed her to me and went back to bed.

The first night he was gone, I put her in her crib, all nice and cozy, told her good night, poured a bourbon and coke and went out on the patio so I couldn't hear her as well. She screeched and screamed for well over an hour before she fell into an exhausted sleep. Mission accomplished, I thought. But, I was as wrong about that as George W. Bush was. The next night, I repeated the routine and she screamed for about 45 minutes. Better, but at that rate, it would take more than a couple of nights to break her of the habit. DJ would just have to grin and bear it. And, sit out on the patio with me and my bourbon. After another night or two, she finally took the hint and settled down into a routine of sleeping at night.

But, enough about her. Let's get back to me. Because it is, after all, all about me, isn't it? Anyhoo, now I'm wondering how to get back into the habit of staying in bed all night. I don't think screaming myself to sleep would be a good idea. The neighbors would be pounding on the walls on two sides, and the floor above me. No, that wouldn't do at all.

I have decided that part of the problem is that after a few hours, I stiffen up and begin to ache, and that wakes me up. So, I have started taking some Ibuprofen just before I go to bed. That seems to help a little, and makes me think there is hope for a good night's sleep, yet.

I suppose I could try to forego that lovely little nap I take every afternoon. I hate to do anything that drastic, though.

Does anyone else out there in cyberspace have the same problem? What do you do about it? Hmmmm?

Stay tuned.


kenju said...

I wake up with a throbbing hip joint, so I take Tylenol before bed (I can't take Ibuprofen with my meds). Some people take Tylenol PM, but I don't usually need that. If I wake up, I don't get out of bed unless it is totally necessary. I may turn on the lamp and read, but I force myself to lie there, in order to rest even if I am not asleep. I used to turn on TV, but that was a bad habit, which kept me awake far longer than if I read.

Darlene said...

Does anyone else have that problem? I think the question should be, doesn't everyone have that problem?

You could be describing me and it has been going on for years. The only thing different is that I now fall asleep watching TV. I go right back to sleep when I transfer to the bed, but I waken in about three hours. I try to go back to sleep for an hour and finally get up and boot up the computer. Some days I never get back to bed and I am spacey all day. Other days I go back to bed and sleep a couple of hours. I call it my morning nap. I do not, however, nap in the daytime unless I am sick.

My doctor prescribed a medication that is not habit forming and it works. I use it if I have to go somewhere the next day and have to keep my eyes open and look reasonably alert. (Ha Ha!! Me look alert?)

lucylocket said...

I usually go to bed by 11pm, read for a couple of hours, and then fall asleep. I then wake up a few hours later (no aches or pains, just a trip to the bathroom.) I then read for two or three hours
and get up by 7am or 8. I hate getting only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. I'm not a nice person on less than 6 hours a night.

I don't want to resort to medication. I glad my husband has the patience of Job.

Golden To Silver Val said...

This all started right after menopause for me. I sleep for 2 to 2.5 hours and wake up...go potty, then go back to bed only to wake up in another 2.5 hours and do the same thing. I don't have a problem with frequent potty visits during the day when I'm up and about....its only at night and sadly, I've gotten used to it. I've tried not drinking any liquids after 8 pm but it doesn't seem to matter. I haven't used an alarm clock in YEARS. All I can say is Thank God I can go back to sleep!

Looking to the Stars said...

My aches and pains kept me awake so I would take advil. Seven years ago we bought a sleep number bed and that helped at the beginning, not so much anymore. Hot tea was recommended but that just made me sweat.

Now, I just take advil, don't know if that's good or bad. For the times when its not aches and pains I read till I can fall asleep.
Sorry I can't be more of a help.

Kay Dennison said...

You are not alone!!!!! My sleep patterns are deteriorating a lot and it's driving me nuts. I've never been a good sleeper but it's getting worse and worse.

Margie's Musings said...

It must be contagious. My doctor said not to get up...just lie there. I do take a couple of Aleve for my aching right leg occasionally but then I stay in bed until 5:00. Most of the time I get back to sleep if I have no world shaking crisis from one of my boys to think about.

Arkansas Patti said...

Mine was easy to sleep, 4 hours later awake for the rest of the night.
Tylenol PM worked marvelously, a straight through 7 to 8 hours sleep. I just hate taking meds though.
Then I realized that before I retired, my days were much more active.
Now I make my self get some sort of exercise if only cleaning cabinets during the day if the weather is nasty.
Result, I sleep right through and feel great.
The few days I cheat and do basically nothing, I am back to the 4 hour nights.
All I can say is experiment and find what works for you. Good luck.

Sister--Helen said...

more burbon and coke...

betty said...

kenju: I never watch tv in bed. It could get to be too much of a habit. I don't read in bed, either. That leaves counting sheep, I guess. lol

Darlene: I have been known to get on the computer when I can't sleep, too.

lucylocket: I would love to get six straight hours of sleep.

Golden to Silver Val: I sometimes think those potty visits at night get to be more habit than need. I just don't dare test that little theory. lol

Looking to the Stars: But you have helped. It helps to know that so many other people have the same problem.

Kay Dennison: I have always been a good sleeper, until now. It has been my avenue of escape.

Margie's Musings: I can't just lie there. My mind starts going a mile a minute. Worra, worra, worra.

Arkansas Patti: I know I'm not active enough during the day. I need to start doing more. Maybe that will help.

The 4th Sister: More bourbon and coke? Sadly, I don't do that any more. Of course, I could always take it up again - for strictly medicinal purposes, you know.

Maria said...

Arkansas Patti is right about exercise. The days that I go to an exercise class are the ones that I am able to sleep at least six hours without waking up.

However, do morning exercise and not evening exercise. 3o minutes on a treadmill before bedtime has me reacting like an eight year old hyper-active child.

Knock on wood, but I never get up in the night to go to the bathroom. I think I am just lucky!

NitWit1 said...

A busy day, exercise all help. I seem to sleep pretty good. If I gbet to sleep before midnight, and don't get up till 6 or 7 it is a good night for me.

NitWit1 said...

A busy day, exercise all help. I seem to sleep pretty good. If I gbet to sleep before midnight, and don't get up till 6 or 7 it is a good night for me.

Deanna said...

You are apparently in good company. I've had hot flashes for many (many, many, many.... ) years and those start the cycle every night. I've taken Tylenol PM with some success. And then there is the bladder that feels full and then I have to get up several times for that. The nap in the middle of the day probably isn't helping things any lol.
One thing that has helped is that I force myself to stick to somewhat of a routine, so my body knows when it is time to sleep and time to wake.
Rots-a-ruck, you're gonna need it!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Once I hit the pillow at night, I usually sleep pretty well. I may go to the bathroom once or twice. Occasionally I have one of those nights when I go more often...who knows why that happens...too many liquids??? Once in a while I have a night where I just don't sleep well either...too much on my mind, God only knows. I have achy nights here and there too. My biggest problem is going to bed at a reasonable time. By the time I pull myself away from this computer it's usually somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 A.M. Rarely do I make it to bed before midnight. I just can't seem to do it. I don't take a nap in the day...so when I do go to bed....I'm pretty tired. So far I've never had to take anything to help me sleep.....so far.

betty said...

Maria: I hate to have to resort to exercise. lol

NitWit1: I've been trying to go to bed a little earlier and stay awake during the day. It seems to help, but I hate to miss my nice little nap.

Deanna: I haven't tried Tylenol PM yet, but that may be next.

Joy Des Jardins: I have trouble going to bed earlier, too, but I have been trying to for the last few days. We'll see what happens.

Susan said...

You mean once the kids leave the nest you *still* can't get a decent night sleep? Sigh...and I was so hoping that would cure me of waking up every few hours to wander around the house...

L.J. Diva said...

My mother has arthritis and a load of other stuff, apparently a beer before you go to bed is supposed to stop aches and pains, but that's up to you.

Have you tried slowly weening yourself off late nights?

Like going to bed at the time you do now, then for a few nights, go 15 minutes earier, then a few nights later go another 15 minutes earlier, and just slowly build up to going to bed earlier until you find a right time.

Don't forget to set your alarm for a decent time in the morning, your body needs to get into a routine as soon as possible.

betty said...

Susan: I have even worse news. Once the kids leave the nest, there's no guarantee they won't come back. lol

Jewels Diva: A beer before bed? That's the best advice I have gotten in a long, long time. Cheers.

Grayquill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grayquill said...

Of course it is all about you, why wouldn’t be? Hmmm… let me see what sage advice can I give Betty? Most of the good ones have been taken. Maybe I should leave it to others seeing how I am typing this at 2:20 am. I wouldn’t want to be a hypocrite, especially after reading the post from your friendly wife pastor friend person phone terrorizer sending you to hell lady.