This article on sleep and how important it is for our well being and good health caught my eye recently. Sleep has been in the forefront of my mind recently as I haven’t been getting enough of it [of course, when we are getting enough sleep we don’t give it a thought]. Every night since we returned from our holiday has been notable for the dark hours I have been awake.
When we were travelling in our motorhome for twelve months we basked in the luxury of waking up when we were ready, rather than relying on an alarm. One friend had joked that we would gain years on our life expectancy just from taking a year away from the call of the alarm clock and she might have been right. I always sleep really well in the campervan and find our weekends away help me to catch up on my sleep.
Fortunately, it isn’t anxiety that is keeping me awake, just hormones. I have had menopausal hot flushes since 2008; these have varied in intensity over those eight years but it is always the night when they are worst. HRT bought on migraines that were too regular and painful to make it worth taking but I found that Gabapentin helped. No one ever told me this menopause-malarkey could go on for eight years but earlier this year I was optimistic enough to feel ready to be drug-free as the symptoms appeared to be easing; however, this last few weeks have been trying. I currently sleep for about three hours and then wake up feeling so hot I can’t bear to have the duvet touching me as I fear either me or the duvet will combust. I throw off the duvet and [not surprisingly] then get cold, pull the duvet back on and eventually drift off back into dreamland until the cycle starts again; this happens about three times a night.
We always have the bedroom window opening and its not even that warm in the UK at the moment! Alcohol doesn’t seem to make much difference and eating spicy food [many websites suggest you avoid this] has no impact at all.
In the scheme of things, of course, this isn’t so bad but I am a person that struggles without sleep and a lack of it can make me a little irritable. I am remaining happy and contented as I am grateful that I don’t have to work shifts or start work very early in the morning and working from home is much more relaxed than being in the office. Goodness knows how others cope; it is often those low paid staff who get the worst deal when it comes to getting enough sleep; early morning cleaning rotas, night shifts and disturbed sleep patterns will have a negative impact on health. But I am impatient for either this eight-year long phase to end or retirement to allow me to sleep until I have had my full quota of shut-eye.