What is it, and do we need it?

I feel I need sleep, but nature thinks otherwise.

I have tried

  • reading
  • listening to the radio
  • getting up and making a warm drink
  • doing chores

None of this seems to help so I have resigned myself to just resting in the dark.  No way will I go down the road of sleeping pills.  I have enough trouble with the medication that I need to keep me going.

So, tell me, do you sleep?

What tricks do you employ to aid a good night of uninterrupted slumber.

6.18am, I think I’ll try and catch forty winks now…. zzzzz!

29 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. Marian

    I find routine is the best way for me, change into PJ’s, wash face and teeth, get clothes ready for the morning,then into bed, read for a few mins then lights out! I tested my theory on a late flight home from America once, changed into more comfy day clothes instead of pj’s but did all the rest, I slept on a plane fir the first time ever. Hope something works for you GM, I can’t imagine how annoying it must be.

  2. Nick

    As you know, I’m an early waker as well. I often wake at 4am, sometimes I get back to sleep, sometimes I don’t. Like you, all I can do is pass the time as best I can by reading, making tea etc. I’ve tried 101 different tricks to get back to sleep but none of them work for long.

    But I can think of far worse things to be afflicted with than early-waking….

  3. steph

    Look what I found in my blog comments today (note the time)…

    “Grannymar Says:
    February 2, 2010 at 3:07 am”


    Serves you right for raiding my larder in the early hours 😉

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Marian – I am glad the routine works for you. I have a routine before settling down at night and I am usually very tired and ready for sleep. A good nights sleep for me is three consecutive hours and even that does not happen very often.

    Nick – You are so right – there are far worse things to be afflicted with than lack of sleep.

    Steph – I thought I might find chocolate cake! 🙄

  5. Magpie11

    How long has this gone on?

    I hear that Hop pillows can help!

    I have learned to do a bit of, what I can only call, self hypnosis.

    My father fought with this for years. He took Nembutal and it didn’t deem to work. What did work was…wait for it….cold stew sandwiches!
    If he ate one before going to bed, he slept.

  6. ernestine

    I am so glad I do not have this problem. I wake at 4:00. Usually meditate and pray until 5:00. Then up and go nonstop until bedtime – which is early. I have had friends say they wish they had my schedule. I think part of this is I have a problem “super active” and in my 70’s this is not going to continue. I have a problem of not sleeping if there is something bothering me, family or close friends. I cannot function without 8 or 9 hours sleep. Wishing you sound sleep tonigh!!

  7. Nancy


    For me the best way to assure a full night’s sleep is :
    Do not nap during the day. Not even for 15 minutes.

    I go to bed at 11:00 P.M. and sleep till 5:00 A.M.. At 5 I turn on my little radio and listen to the news from all over the World. Sometimes I drift back to sleep and sometimes not.

    If I get up any later than 7 A.M. I feel I have overslept.

    My Granny lived with us when I was young and her motto was:” You have to get up very early in the morning before all the good goes out of the day.”

    I hope you get a wonderful hint from someone and it helps you sleep through the night. I think you are right not to want to take sleeping pills. I was given pills in the hospital once and I slept all right but I didn’t feel like myself for a day or two.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Magpie – Over twenty years, mind you I think I will draw the line at cold stew sarnies!

    Ernestine – Am I allowed envy you the regular eight hours sleep each night. Enjoy it while you can.

    Nancy – I remember my mother being in hospital years ago and following a very disturbed night on the ward, an edict was issued ‘ all patients were to be given a sleeping tablet.’! Mammy refused but the nurse on duty stood over her and waited until she swallowed it – even checking under her tongue to be sure. The next day they were still trying to wake her at 5pm. I react in a very similar to mammy with all medication, so for this reason I take as little as possible.

  9. Stella

    Like Magpie11, I practice a form of self hypnosis to quieten my mind when I find it difficult to get to sleep. I also find that a dribk of camomile tea before bed helps.

  10. momma

    I am fortunate enough to get 8 or 9 hours sleep but it is interrupted. I usually retire at 11pm. Then around 4 am I’m up to relieve the bladder, get a small sip of water or juice, and then back to bed until around 7am. At that time if my arms and shoulders don’t ache I repeat my earlier routine. Otherwise It is up and get my morning coffee to start my day. If at any time I find I have trouble getting to sleep when I lay down I invoke the 1/2 hour rule. If after a half an hour I’m still awake it is get up, read, do a bit of domestic stuff, or do a fill it in puzzle. then attempt a sleep again. That usually works.

    Now this is from a person that up until her late fifties slept no more than 5 hours a night. Amazing what growing old does to you.

  11. jenniffer

    i drink sweet dreams tea by bigelow; or when i go to a place where there is an actual tea shop, i ask for their best “sleep” inducing tea… i’m not sure it’s the tea or the act of quietly sipping and letting the warmth wash over me. good luck!

    (ps- i also take melatonin in dire situations–it’s herbal without side effects)

  12. wisewebwoman

    Two things (unless I get a bad attack of IBS which keeps me up most of the night).
    One is spray the bed linen with lavender – it is indescribable how good it will make you feel.
    Second is mentally go to a lovely day when a child (on the strand, etc) and relive the whole day, you won’t even reach the picnic part, but you might get one slow sandcastle in ;).
    PS I don’t ingest liquids as I find it too self defeating in older years.

  13. Margaret Kilgore

    Here’s a trick from my grandmother. Lie on your stomach and write the time you want to awake on the bedsheet with your toe. Don’t know how this works, but it does for me. Use it when I don’t have an alarm clock handy! Hope something works for you!!

  14. Lily

    After years of sleeplessness, I think I’ve nearly cracked it for me
    – Radio with earphones and talk radio. Newstalk is a great addition
    – Plenty of paper and pen to write down stuff that comes into be head at night to get rid of it out of my head
    – Toast and hot water at night. I’m like the baby who wakes for a night feed
    – I rarely stay in bed if I can’t sleep

    When I waken, I generally get up for the toast and hot water and go back to bed, put in the ear plugs and off I go.

    Thankfully sleeping is now becoming less of a problem for me. I’m a slow-learner though – it took me a long time to learn

    You have my sympathy Grannymar – Not sleeping is hard

  15. Mrs. Eat The Blog

    I do rely on a mild antihistamine for allergies, which helps with sleep as well. Being a late-in-life mother to a very active five year old helps too. I never imagined I’d be quite as tired at the end of the day as I am.

    Maybe I could rent him out to insomniacs 😉

    I hope you figure out a way to get some sleep.

  16. Baino

    I have awful wakefulness at about 3am if I’m worried about something which is quite often. I just get up, hit the PC, have a cup of tea until my eyelids can’t take it any more. Of course sometimes, I just stay up since I rise at 6am anyway but it seems to work. As we get older and less active, we actually need less sleep. Five solid hours is usually enough. In my really panicky moments, I’ve found deep breathing exercises very helpful in reducing the stress, my heart rate lowers and I’m relaxed and ready for more sleep. Good luck GrannyMar, I hope it’s a temporary thing. It’s so very frustrating.

  17. Grannymar Post author

    Stella – Camomile tea, I have tried but I prefer my usual hot water. Self hypnosis is one I am not so sure about since my heart can go into spasm both when I am awake or asleep.

    Momma – I tried the getting up rule, but found I was working night and day with no proper rest. That is why I taught myself to just close my eyes and rest.

    Jennifer – I did try some of the night-time teas but found they all left a taste in my mouth. At the rate I am going I will be drinking plain hot water night and day.

    Ramana – I have about four books beside my bed, I am a slow reader so lose interest quickly particularly when I am tired. Reading may make my eyes heavy, but does not induce sleep.

    WWW – I tried lavender in both spray and in an oil burner. No go either.

    Margaret – My husband repeated the time he wanted to wake up twice before going to sleep and always woke on the dot. It never worked for me.

  18. Grannymar Post author

    Lily – Living alone, I don’t need the earphones and BBC World Service is my companion through the night. The problem is some of the programmes are better than those during the day! Most of the time I am fine about it, but occasionally I suppose the body is over tired.

    Mrs ETB – I remember the days when Elly was on the go night and day. Once she learned to read calm spread and she was content to stay in bed with her books. Thankfully she was reading before she started school at four.

    Baino – I was good at hopping out of bed at 5.50am when I was working, sleep or no sleep. Perhaps it was the people thing and the company.

  19. Betty

    Do I sleep? Yes. Just not at night. I can’t keep my eyes open some days, but when night comes, I’m wide awake. I can’t seem to change this pattern.

  20. Darlene

    I sleep like a baby; I sleep awhile, wake and cry awhile, sleep awhile, etc. Well, you get the idea. Insomnia is a part of the aging process for me.

    My doctor prescribed Gambapentin. It is not a sleeping pill, but a medication used to calm trembling in people like Parkinson’s sufferers. It is non-addictive and has been a godsend to me when I need to sleep. The side effect is drowsiness and that makes you sleepy. I also have a mental game I play; I start with every place (country, city, state, etc.) that begins with A and ends with A. I start with Alaska. Sometimes I fall asleep half way through. It keeps me from going over worries or a list of next day’s chores. (The same principle as counting sheep.)

    It’s a myth that older people do not require as much sleep as younger people. We are not as physically active so we are not as physically tired at night. That’s a ripe scenario for insomnia.

    I feel my best when I have had eight hours sleep, but that is a rare night. Unless I have to rise early the next day, I just sleep until I wake naturally.

  21. Sam

    hmmm – don’t know what to suggest except to say that I sympathise – I don’t often have sleepless nights but when I do I end up get sooooo frustrated!! I have heard it said that the best thing to do is simply to treat it as rest even if you can’t go to sleep – i.e. just to lie there and rest your body – but that is easier said than done I know!!!

  22. Magpie11

    I’ve just remembered something:

    If my sister and /or were lying awake too late my father would shout from the bottom of the stairs,”Go to sleep or I’ll fetch the coal hammer.”

  23. kenju

    I usually sleep pretty well, although on occasion, I can’t.

    I drink a beer just before going to bed, and then I read until my eyes start to close on their own. I’ve noticed that if I drink red wine, I will go to sleep at first, but then wake up and be awake for several hours. So I have stopped drinking red wine with or after dinner. (bummer). I hope you find the right combination of things for you.

  24. Grannymar Post author

    Betty – Back to front sleeping must be more difficult than not sleeping at all.

    Darlene – ‘Sleep like a baby’, I love it!

    Sam – Resting is just how I look at it now.

    Magpie – 😆 In our house it was mammy who did the shouting and hammering!

    Maynard – A coal hammer was used to break large pieces of coal that were too big for the fire.

    Judy – Like you, I noticed that alcohol puts me over to sleep, but it only lasts a very short time.

  25. Kate

    Hi Grannymar – I’m playing catch up as usual – if I can’t sleep its usually things on my mind that I need to do – so I usually get up and write a list then go back to bed with a book – but I never get past the first couple of pages…

  26. Grannymar Post author

    Kate – Early or late you are welcome. I think by this stage my body has adjusted well to the short two or three hours sleep. Waking every twenty mins or so it the most difficult.


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