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A Sleeping moon in a cap.

Image via Wikipedia

In the wee small hours of the morning

While the whole side world is fast asleep

You lie awake and think about the girl

And never, ever think of counting sheep.

Lyrics to Wee Small Hours,

by David Mann and Bob Hilliard

My memory is stating to fade.  What I mean is, I am starting to have selective memory loss.   I am losing my memory of what it is like to have a good night’s sleep.

It has been years since I have felt rested and refreshed waking up in the morning.  I think the last time I felt really good waking up, was about 20 years ago when I lived in my apartment alone.

I was single. I did not have any responsibilities, other than myself.  I was a young woman of 27 and at the peak of my physical fitness. I used to workout two hours (yikes!) at day, eat nothing but healthy food and slept like a rock at night.

One of the best memories of that time, was I used to put my head on my pillow at night and not wake up until daylight came through the window.  Glorious hour after hour of uninterrupted sleep.  Sigh.

Twenty years later, things are different in my world of sleep.  Since I met my husband, my days of blissful sleeping are over.  My husband is not responsible for my sleep loss these days, but when we first met…yes, there were some sleepless nights.

My children, God bless them, have been huge contributors to my lack of sleep.  Pregnancy is the best preparation ever to prepare a woman how to deal with a lack of sleep.  Night after night, various aliments, pain and general discomfort keep a pregnant woman awake.

Newborns are designed to disrupt sleep.  They need care every two hours, so sleeping is not really an option.  The lack of sleep can be  so unpleasant, my neighbor plans to only have one child.

“It is so hard to work without a good night sleep.” – Sweet, foolish, young, neighbor girl.

I am guessing no one has bothered to tell her about the joys of menopause.  For months, maybe years, I have not slept peacefully through the night.  The reason is because I am losing hormones and my body is forming a protest.

I can fall asleep easily, three boys will do that for you, but staying asleep is the problem.  I wake up each night at the bewitching hour of 3:00am.  My theory is, this is when the glasses of  wine lose their effectiveness.

When I started my menopausal symptoms, I used to stress out about not being able to get back to sleep right away.  Now that I never sleep through the night, I have come up with strategies.  Time awake should not be wasted.

Five Great Things To Do When Awake at 3:00a.m.

1.   Pray

This is always the first thing I do when I wake up at 3:00a.m.  I often say to people,”I will pray for you,” but most of the time I forget to do it.  But early in the morning, is a great time for prayer.  I start globally (Earth), then move to communities ( countries, wars, and schools) and last to people (family, friends, neighbors and pets).

2.  I meditate.

Okay, this is not exactly true.  I try to meditate, but meditation is a skill I have not mastered yet.  I lie in bed and meditation is best done sitting.  What I really do is deep breathing and try to focus on my breathing.  It is unbelievably hard not to get distracted.

3.  I worry.

This is exactly what I should not be doing in the middle of the night.  I worry about EVERYTHING.  I start to replay all the things I need to get accomplished and how my lack of sleep will keep me from doing them.

4.  I confess love to my husband.

Most nights while I am awake, my beloved husband lies peacefully asleep.  I am not sure how he sleeps with the amount of flipping I do, but he does.  I often feel the need to wake him up and confess my deep, profound love…at 3:00am.

“Sweetie.  Are you awake?” – Me

“Oh no.  What time is it?  Trouble sleeping again?” – Husband

“Darling.  I just wanted you to know how much I love you.  Marrying you was the smartest thing I have ever done.  You are my very best friend and a fantastic lover.  The life you have helped me create with our boys is more than I could have ever dreamed of.  I have…” – Me

“Dear.  I am tired.  I love you too.  Would you mind telling me all this in a few hours?” – Husband

5.  Fool around

The best use of early morning awake time, according to my husband.

Someday, I keep telling myself.  Someday, I will once again put my head on my pillow at night and not wake untill the sunrise. Someday the joy of a great night’s sleep will be mine again.  I just hope when that someday arrives,  I will be able to get out of bed.