Sleep – Counting sheep just doesn’t cut it!

Who would have ever guessed I would have sleep issues! Me, the woman who could fall asleep standing up! On a West coast flight, my routine was to recline my chair and pull down the shade preparing for a 5 hour snooze from lift off to landing! Friends marveled at my sleeping ability and I was the envy of my insomniac friends!

Enter retirement and all of a sudden, I wasn’t guaranteed a restful night’s sleep anymore! My wandering mind, racing thoughts took me all over the place, but not to The Land of Nod,where I wanted to go.

 

My worries about money, not having enough, my children, my husband, had I made the right decision to leave the workplace, my health and the state of the world were keeping me up!

 

I had no trouble falling asleep. That was easy. It was that damn 4:30 am wake up call that once eyes opened started the cycle. Peeing is one thing, I expected that, but this was more than that. It was my inability to put myself back to sleep.

 

After a month of this insomnia, I decided to try the usual recommendations for this condition. I Googled insomnia and sleep disorders. I was shocked at the percentage of people who have this problem, about 40% of the population. Who knew? Tryptophan, as in what makes us sleepy after the big Thanksgiving meal did nothing for me. Maybe it helps turkeys sleep? Melatonin, which many of my globe trotting friends swear by, Nada a wink.

 

On to acupuncture. I had never tried it before so being pro holistic and natural, rather than asking for a prescription for Ambien, it was worth a shot! I signed up for 3 sessions to give it a try. While very relaxing and a totally enjoyable experience, it didn’t take me to where I wanted to go, that being a solid night’s sleep. I did start waking at 5:30 instead of 4:30 so there was progress. Rather than investing in more sessions, being prudent, I tried what has turned out to be my salvation.

 

My daughter was working at a spa that used these white noise machines, the kind that new moms use in baby’s nurseries. Could this simple concept of blocking out all distracting sound work for me? Worth the $28 investment from Amazon.

This lovely little sleepy time machine, Sleepytime tea before bed, and my horse blinder eye mask ( bought at T.J Maxx for $10) is as good as I have had it for the last 6 months. I still wake up during the night, but I can finally put myself back to sleep.

 

It’s been a real eye opening experience to have insomnia, but I’ve certainly learned 1) I’m in good company and 2) sheep just aren’t to be counted on.

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. Pay attention to clues from your body, be that physical or mental.  Now is not the time to ignore symptoms or think they might away. Health is a gift, as is a good night’s sleep.

. Be open to alternative medicine.  Anybody can get a prescription for Ambien and you can always keep it in reserve.  Try meditating, deep breathing, yoga, the CALM app for bedtime stories.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

The Problem with Mirrors

I can still hear the clack of my mother’s heels on the hardwood floor outside my room.  “Barclay, I need you to come to the bathroom mirror.”

She clacks back to her room. I trudge behind her, a mature adult reverted to age 12.  The bathroom lighting will be unforgiving and her mirror more so.  Soon we’re facing that mirror, my mother, all 5’ 11” of her, behind me, staring.   “Which side of the bed do you sleep on, dear?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer.

“It appears you sleep on your right side.  Do you see this wrinkle over here?   When we compare it to the left side, it’s more pronounced.”

She pauses to let this observation, apparently evident to all, sink in.

I cringe thinking about how I rest my face in one hand while sleeping, thereby scrunching this poor right side into its present state.

“You really should be sleeping on your back, as I do.  Have you tried that?”

How to respond?  She will proceed to my forehead if I don’t take the offensive.  It’s a forbidden topic, but under bathroom lights, all’s fair.

“I wish there was something I could do.”  Pause.  “Mom, did you ever have plastic surgery?”

At the time, my mother was a smooth faced octogenarian with model cheekbones, arched eyebrows, and a sculpted nose.  

“I once had a few spots removed …and while I was there, well, they may have done some treatments.”

I had secured an admission. Victory?  Hardly.  Short of undergoing “treatments” of my own, this overly ambitious wrinkle would only deepen along with its forehead counterparts.

The really sad part is that upon returning home I did try sleeping on my back.  Unfortunately, this caused a nasal situation and a thunderous noise, jarring me awake at 2AM, certain an intruder was pounding at the door.

Of course I blamed Codie, our golden retriever, for this unladylike noise.   My husband only chuckled – a bit meanly I thought.

I hated my mother at that moment.

 

So I am not a fan of mirrors.  

Have you noticed they love surprising you with something NEW that you could swear wasn’t there the night before?   A line, a blotch, a vein.  (Let’s pause in  honor  of whoever invented concealer – which I will soon be applying with a putty knife.)

My advice is to avoid mirrors unless you just spread lipstick on your teeth. 

And beware of “treatments” that have the power to seduce your wallet and your retirement joy. 

Eventually my mother’s smile looked downright scary.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

  • There’s a saying, The gods we worship write their names on our faces.  Having a positive outlook, even smiling more, goes a long way in promoting attractiveness.
  • Find compassionate mirrors (it’s all about the lighting); but know that the state of your heart takes precedence.  Along with gobs of concealer!

 

P.S. I hate to admit it….but my mother was right.  Sleeping on your side DOES cause wrinkles.  And sleeping on your back IS better.  But there is hope for us snorers.  According to this 2012 article in the Huffington Post — we should purchase a “beauty sleep pillow” or a satin pillowcase.  Just be sure your dog is nearby to take the blame for any emissions during this side-to-back process!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy