‘The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.’ W. C. Fields.

16 Sep

Saturday is usually my ‘chores’ day.  As there is only me in the house it is easy enough to keep it clean and tidy during the week and, quite honestly, I can’t be bothered running around doing errands or household chores after being at work all day.  I’d rather go home, walk and feed the dogs, have dinner and then relax by doing a bit of reading or sketching or catching up on the telly . . .

choresSo last Saturday was no different.  I was up early and into it.  Mabel, Maude I went for a long early morning walk (Molly doesn’t ‘do’ mornings) and when we came back I put the washing on, hoovered and dusted, clipped Molly, mowed the lawns, swept the paths and weeded the garden (at least until I decided I was fighting a losing battle and went and had a cup of tea instead).  Then I walked the dogs again (honestly they have no idea what a good mother I am to them) and even managed to watch an old movie and get some sketching in.   It was a productive day and by the time I went to bed on Saturday night I was pooped, and ready for a good sleep.

And I did fall asleep, almost immediately.

But then I woke up again. 12.45am.  Had a noise woken me up?  Not likely—the dogs were all still fast asleep (Molly snoring happily as usual).  Did I have a weird dream?  Not that I recalled. Did I need to go to the bathroom?  Not really—but I got up and went anyway, just in case.

Then I climbed back into into bed, settled myself comfortably and closed my eyes.

sleeplessnessAnd I lay there . . . and lay there . . . and lay there.  Staring at the ceiling. And then I heard the cuckoo-bird.  Do you know it is impossible to ‘unhear’ a cuckoo once you have heard it?  Their call just continues to drill unceasingly into your brain. So I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head (Mabel grumbled at me) . . . but then I got too hot and threw the covers back (another doggie grumble).   I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to clear my mind.  I even distinctly remember saying to myself ‘don’t think about anything . . . don’t think about anything . . . don’t think about anything . . . ‘.  Sigh.  Too late.

Have you ever actually listened to the crap that goes on inside your head when you are wide awake in the middle of the night?  Okay.  I’ll rephrase that (I shouldn’t just assume that because there is crap in my head that there is also crap in yours).  What I meant to say was—have you ever really paid attention to the thoughts and notions that run around and around and around in your brain when all you want to do is switch off and sleep?   It’s weird, stream-of-consciousness stuff, with no seeming rhyme or reason.

gilmore-girls-haikuLorelai Gilmore knew—’My brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. I’m writing a letter, I can’t write a letter, why can’t I write a letter? I’m wearing a green dress, I wish I was wearing my blue dress, my blue dress is at the cleaners. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue, ‘Casablanca’ is such a good movie. Casablanca, the White House, Bush. Why don’t I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard. Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants!’

Once upon a time I used to sleep really well.  Seven or eight hours of (uninterrupted) sleep was the norm.  Alas, no longer.  I know that our sleep patterns change as we get older (menopause has a lot to answer for) but knowing that doesn’t always help. I already follow most of the ‘recommendations’ that are out there.  I get up at the same time every morning (even weekends and holidays) and usually go to bed around the same time at night.  I exercise regularly.  I avoid caffeine and (sigh) alcohol in the evenings.  I don’t use the computer in the evening either (I learned very early on that if I write in the evenings I will inevitably wake up in the wee small hours ‘editing’ what I had written earlier).  I even keep a notebook by the bed in case I wake up thinking ‘OMG I have to remember to do that . . . ‘ so I can jot it down, thereby (supposedly) allowing my overwrought brain the peace of mind it needs to get right back to sleep.  (Yeah, right.)

breatheIn desperation in the past I have even tried deep breathing techniques. Deep breath in for four, hold, breathe out.  Breathe in for four, hold, breathe out. This generally only succeeded in me focusing so much on the counting that I either mucked up my number sequences or completely forgot to breathe at all (which was not entirely helpful).  It also usually brought at least one of the dogs over to delicately lay a cold wet nose upon my cheek, curious as to why Mum was breathing so funny . . .

Anyway, long story shortI hardly slept at all that night.  I was still clock-watching at 2.00am . . . 2.30am . .  3.00am.  At 4.00am I gave in.  I got up, dressed and took Maudie out for a (very) early morning walk.  (Mabel was still grumpy about me disturbing her sleep and refused to go with us.)  Maudie and I actually had a very lovely walk.  It was cool and calm and quietbut that doesn’t mean I want to be up and out walking quite that early every morning.

So I don’t know what the answer ismaybe there is no answer.  Maybe this is just the way it is now and I should stop whining about it.   Just suck it up and deal with it.

zzzzzAlthough, you know, legend has it that if you can’t sleep it means that you are awake in someone else’s dream.  Mmmmmm.

You know, if you all could stop dreaming about me . . . just for a little while  . . .  that might be really helpful . . .   🙂


Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “‘The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.’ W. C. Fields.

  1. stevetalbot51

    September 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    PS – I am definitely not “Anonymous” – but I am using Scott & Em’s PC and forgot to log in before posting comment 🙂


    • sallyinthehaven

      September 19, 2016 at 7:28 am

      Fooled me for a second. ‘Anonymous’ is usually Jon, but I think she is still ‘off the grid’ at the moment anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous

    September 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Like CC, counting backwards (from 300 in my case) seems to work – not that I have TOO many sleepless nights. Can’t comment on the menopause thing of course, but Sal I think you might have a minor under-drinking problem 🙂 A glass or two of wine in the evening can be VERY relaxing you know, and might even help you sleep better. As for the b……… cuckoo, sometimes you just have to reach for the earplugs cos nothing else will work! Pleased to say I was not in the least bit sleepy whilst reading your blog, very entertaining!


    • sallyinthehaven

      September 19, 2016 at 7:27 am

      I tried the counting backwards thing last night (from 57) and I kept getting to about 30-something, would get drowsy, wake up a bit and have to start again at 57!! This happened a couple of times but in the end I did fall back asleep – not idea at what number though . . . 🙂 As to the wine – yes it does send me off to sleep quicker (usually on the sofa) but I ALWAYS WITHOUT FAIL wake up during the night and am then unable to get back to sleep. If I want to sleep I can’t have wine, simple as that. Sigh. Looks like I am going to have to find another vice . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. C. C. Cedras

    September 18, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Not to add to your problem, but do you ever lie there listening to your current earworm on an endless loop? Or, is that just me?!

    I actually have another technique that my trainer gave me that has worked…I think the starting number is 54, but that’s not hugely important. You count backward on each exhale. If you lose track, you go back to 54 and start over. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past 40.


    • sallyinthehaven

      September 18, 2016 at 8:45 am

      No that is not just you!! 🙂 I have never heard the counting backwards from 54 thing before. I am going to try that next time (but please don’t let it be tonight . . . )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina

    September 16, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I have many nights like that. Like you I try to do all the right things (drink decaf tea, cool dark bedroom, notebook and pen by bed, regular bed and waking hours), but still I don’t sleep well.
    This is a great app by the way, Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson by Michael Schneider
    I do think I am peri menopausal, but to be honest I’ve always had trouble getting off to sleep.
    I try to just accept it. Now. I get up and make a hot chocolate and watch a little TV, this seems to reset myself. What ever happens, I do always seem to have enough sleep to get me through the day. So I try not to worry about it too much, or that will be another thought/ anxiety whizzing through my brain when I can’t sleep.


    • sallyinthehaven

      September 17, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Most of the time I do ‘just deal with it’ – but other times I really feel the need to vent!! The hardest part is knowing that if I have had a crap night’s sleep then everything at work the next day is going to be that much harder too. Luckily I have very understanding work colleagues . . . 🙂

      P.S. I’ll have a look at that App – thanks. 🙂


  5. Val Evans

    September 16, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Sorry Sally, you weren’t in my dream, but you have brilliantly described many of my nights. If you find the answer, let me know …


    • sallyinthehaven

      September 16, 2016 at 9:47 am

      If we could bottle the answer we would make a fortune . . .



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