During recent spates of insomnia, I assumed that my circadian rhythms were totally out of whack. I am currently not quite so sleep-deprived, but this old body persists in traveling to the beat of a different drum.
I’m 65 and about age 63 my sleep patterns stared to lose coordination with day-night.
I will fall asleep on the sofa at 19:30 sitting up and go to bed at 01:00 and sleep well until 08:00 or later.
I will wake up at 03:30 wide awake, having gone to bed at 11:00, no hint of tiredness, ready to go.
At first I hated it, and fought to stay awake or asleep as custom dictated. Then I gave up and quite enjoy the the freedom. It’s 19:24 and I’m off to Bedfordshire with no idea whatever when I’ll wake up.
I discovered (using it for its original purpose – to fight an allergy attack) that I have the weird enzyme system that causes what is called “paradoxical reaction” to Benadryl – it makes me wired and insomniac.
I mean, not dying of allergies is nice, but I’d kind of like to be able to sleep, too….
Also being female and technically still of childbearing age (I guess), there are a few nights most months I just don’t sleep and it SUCKS. I can’t get my mind to stop yammering at me.
There’s a new book about this subject entitled “Why We Sleep”, by Matthew Walker. The good news is, it’s fascinating, and it has given me a whole new appreciation of why I need to sleep well, every night. The bad news– it doesn’t give a whole lot of new ideas about how to achieve it.
His advice in a nutshell: 1) Allow yourself an 8-hour window for sleep, with no exceptions! 2) Go to bed and wake up at exactly the same time every night. (Ha! Try telling most of us not to sleep in on the weekends); 3) Cut the caffeine and alcohol (same remark as for #2 above); 4) Cut the lights (my sleep mask is essential for that); 5) Do NOT use a snooze alarm. It’s bad enough to jangle your nerves once; 6) Forget about sleeping pills of any kind; they only make things worse; 7) If you try all these and still can’t sleep, your are entirely DOOMED. You will likely develop cancer, altzheimer’s and any number of maladies.