Out Like a Light – or not?

The other night I didn’t sleep a wink. Or at least, that’s what it felt like.

I’d been up at 5:30am, in work for 7, finished at 4. When I got home I’d grabbed a quick cup of tea and got changed, then did at least an hour’s work in the garden. I’d had something to eat and as it was such a beautiful evening I’d gone out for a walk. I headed for bed at just gone 11:00.

I should have been tired. I should have been out like a light.

I didn’t feel particularly tired. In truth I’d only gone up to bed because it was gone 11 and I ‘ought’ to be going to bed. I wasn’t out like a light.

One o’clock came and went. I tried all my usual techniques – counting, staring at the ceiling, going to the loo. Two o’clock came and went. My alarm was due to go off again at 5:30 for another 7am start. Three and a half hours to go.

In the end, I headed downstairs. I’m very good at snoozing on the sofa, and this was my last chance to salvage maybe a couple of hours before it was time to get up.

I put the TV on, really quiet. Poirot was on ITV3 – perfect. I’ve seen them all before, so there are no surprises. Nothing disturbing, nothing funny, just some inoffensive background noise to give my brain something to do while the rest of me falls asleep.

It worked – I managed just over an hour, but then I woke up and it had finished. Rather than waking up completely to see if there was anything else I could watch, I headed back up to bed. And yes, I must have fallen asleep again, because the alarm woke me at 5:30 – but I didn’t feel like I had.

Another full day ahead – so, splash the face with cold water and get on with it. I made myself a coffee when I got to work, which is something I never do (well, I never do it unless I haven’t slept a wink…).

I worked from 7:00 to 4:00 again, and predictably found myself nodding off on the sofa by about 8. I made myself stay awake and didn’t give in to the temptation to just go to bed. In the end I was in bed by 10:30, which is quite early for me. And I dropped off straight away and slept right through – to 4:30.

Chatting with other women my age, not sleeping seems to be common. We find ourselves nodding off on the sofa, we go to bed (because we’re obviously tired, if we’re nodding off on the sofa) and as soon as our heads hit the pillow we’re wide awake and worrying. There seems to be a pattern – a few decent nights’ sleep, then a poor one.

Why can’t we just decide to sleep? In the same way that we just decide to sit down or stand up? We can lie down and close our eyes – but the actual falling asleep is outside of our control. In fact the harder we try to do it the less likely we are to succeed. Very odd, granted sleep is essential to our health and well-being.

What about you? Are you out like a light?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan Mudd says:

    I too wish I was out like a light every night but sadly not so. Some nights I sleep like a log, maybe one night in three, but I never feel refreshed. Then the other nights I toss and turn and try to get comfortable. I am either too hot or too cold, my back aches or I have twitchy legs. It doesn’t seem to matter if I have had a full day golfing and gardening and 10,000 + steps (so plenty of fresh air and exercise) or an inside catch up day with housework and the BBC iplayer. I try to watch TV but it wakes himself up as does the light from my kindle if I read, so I don’t. Sometimes, like you, I come through and rest on the couch and fall asleep about 4. Luckily I don’t have to get up for work but I try to get up at 7:30 anyway in the mistaken belief that I will sleep better that night. I would love to know why.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It really is the case that the harder you try, the worse it gets. I can’t think of anything else that gets harder to do if you try really hard to do it!! I would love to know why too. xx


  3. Annice says:

    Men just sleep, don’t they? Women get to bed … and start to (over)think. Men hop in to bed, head on pillow, asleep. Such simple animals. We have a myriad little things to think about, which we mustn’t forget to do. Having a notebook or sheet of paper and a pencil on the floor by the bed helps me; as a thought occurs, I reach down, fumble for the pencil in the dark, write myself a note, and that seems to let me move on. Writing is awful, but the thought is dealt with. Another thing that helps, unusually, is chewing over an unsolved cryptic crossword clue, which often distracts me from other intrusive things and I find I have dropped off.


  4. I’d avoided the whole ‘Men just sleep’ thing – but it does seem to be a particular problem for women of a certain age. Yes, I find writing things down help – otherwise I keep waking myself up to check that I’m still remembering something… Like the crossword clue idea!!


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