If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ll know that most of my blogs are written in the middle of the night!
For years I have considered myself to be an insomniac, after all, I spend hours of the night awake, wandering around the house wondering why I’m so alert when the rest of the neighbourhood is in slumber. I look for things to do that don’t make too much noise, I’ve done the ironing in the past, edited my photographs, played endless games of Candy Crush, Solitaire and Bejewelled Blitz, watched ridiculously boring TV programs on mute with the subtitles on! My salvation was my blog (which has been on hold recently as we’ve been up to our eyes in brick dust, plaster and paint but there lies another story).
Typing away at the computer has been my saving grace. I just love the peace and quiet, I used to have Charlie, my canine companion, lying at my feet breathing heavily as he slept next to me. Now it’s just me, with the soothing, gentle snoring of the Hubster and a damn fly buzzing around the room. Eventually, in a couple of hours later, I will feel my eyelids grow heavy and I’ll toddle back to bed for another couple of hours sleep.
Back to the insomnia, the Hubster and I have had endless ‘heated’ discussions about my nighttime antics, he just ‘does not’ understand why I can’t sleep eight hours as he (and most of the western world) does. He thinks I’ve trained myself into waking up! Sure, that sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it? Admittedly, I do tend to have habits that aren’t really conducive to a good night’s sleep, nicotine and caffeine, but he’s the same so how come his head hits the pillow and he gets a full eight hours totally comatose and I’m lying there twitching, not to mention the dreaded hot flushes that go with my age!
Whenever I talk of my lack of sleep, I receive no end of advice:
- Stop drinking coffee after 11 a.m. – you’ve got to be kidding right? Me? Not drink coffee? (I would give up the will to live if I didn’t have that sweet, black, strong nectar)
- Have a warm bath before bedtime – this just gives me, what I call, runny legs and I’m fidgeting for hours.
- Drink herbal concoctions and trust me I’ve heard them all and tried most of them – yeah, well I’m sorry they just make me pee, I’m up and down like a Jack Rabbit, so that kind of defeats the object!
- Herbal tablets – great if you want to look and feel like a zombie for the next 24 hours, listen I’m 55 years old, looking half-decent in the morning is hard enough!
I’ve tried so many remedies and I can say, hand on heart, I haven’t yet found one that works. I’ve never been to the doctor with my problem as I’ve always been fortunate enough to have evening or late starting jobs and so manage to get a nap in during the day before starting work.
I was describing my nocturnal habits to my friend the other day and said that I have a pretty regular pattern, I go to bed, drop off almost immediately and then almost every single night, four hours later I wake up and I’m ready to face the day, fully refreshed, yep at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning! What? it’s a nightmare! What to do? Do I get up or do I lie there and try to go back to sleep? I inevitably get up, find something to do and a couple of hours later go back to bed and manage to fit in another couple of hours.
It was while I was telling her about my 4 hours blocks of sleep that I decided to have a quick look on the internet and see what I could find and by jingo, there it was!!! Eureka! I couldn’t believe it, there’s a condition called Biphasic sleep and believe it or not, up until we had street lamps, just about everybody would have this pattern of sleep. People would have their 1st sleep and then their 2nd sleep! Just like me!
Charles Dickens mentions first and second sleep and in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales there is a reference to ‘firste’ sleep. I quote from Wikipedia.org; “A case has been made that maintaining such a sleep pattern may be important in regulating stress. An interesting point is that the waking period was used to pray and reflect, interpret dreams, scholars and poets would write uninterrupted whilst others would visit neighbours, engaged in sexual activity or committed petty crime.” (Thank you Wikipedia!!) not that I’m about to go out stealing in the dead of night!
It’s normal, I’m normal, I can’t tell you the huge sense of relief I felt as I read the articles about it, experiments and studies that had been done, this was me, this is my night-time cycle. It was pretty amazing and now as opposed to clock watching and thinking I must go back to bed, I’m doing what my body clock is telling me to do, it has given me such peace of mind.