Thursday, 16 April 2009


The days biggest pleasure for me, is that moment when I get into bed at night. My bed is incredibly comfortable, a firm mattress, a goose down duvet, goose down pillow. And when I first get in two other pillows positioned just right for me to sit up against.

I slide between white sheets, that are so old they feel like silk, and at their best have been freshly laundered and hang out on the line to dry and so have that smell of the breeze in them.

I stretch my body down the bed, wriggling my toes to enjoy the feel of my body lying straight and I relish the coolness of the sheets. I particularly like it if my body is cold as well, as I know I'll warm up quickly.

I always read before sleep, and usually I'm so tired that it will only be for about 20 minutes before I know I need to throw the sitting up cushions on the floor, switch off the light and snuggle down.

Snuggling down is greatly improved if the weather is foul outside. I love the noise of the rain pattering down on the window, or the wind howling.

I start off on my left side, getting sleepier, and when the moment is just right I turn over onto my right side to drift off into sleep.

And that's when it all goes bloody wrong. My body responds night after night to this highly enjoyable procedure by giving me a sodding hot flush just as I want to drift. So off goes the duvet to cool my body down, and I'm wide awake again.

I've tried not turning over, I've tried lying on my back, whatever I do nothing stops the pre sleep hot flush. These hot flushes aren't treatable either, cause although they are related to the menopause, they are more related to the cancer busting drugs I take and are a side effect.

So I don't mind that I have them, the choice is a no brainer, medication or not, oestrogen inhibitors or not, life or death, there is no other way.

But it does frustrate me, but eventually I do go to sleep and then the fun really starts......

I wake up around 1.30 for a pee, that's fine I usually go back to sleep after another hot flush.

Then we get to the wondrous time between 3 and 4am, when I awake again. And like today I'm wide abloody awake. I don't want to be. I want to be asleep. But I'm not. Some nights this means going downstairs to make a piece of toast and a hot drink. Others it means being on the computer. Or reading for a while. But most often it involves lying with my eyes shut, tossing and turning around the bed trying to find that elusive thing called sleep.

I will go back to sleep eventually usually as it's getting towards 5am. This didn't used to be too bad, cause I'd have another two hours till the alarm went off. But now I have the hound of the Baskervilles to contend with, and around 6am she wakes up and starts mithering to go for a walk. Fortunately she now does understand that I'll fumble downstairs open the back door and fumble back to bed till I can cope with getting up or the alarm makes me.

I get very bored with clients telling me they don't sleep and expecting me to do something to help them sort it out. If I could, I would have started with me! What I do know is I can cope on very little sleep and some nights of very disturbed sleep and if I can do it, so can they. So the sympathetic counselling approach is definitely not present when sleep disorders are being presented!!!

I know that the lack of sleep tonight was inevitable as I went out for dinner with friends and eating late and having coffee doesn't suit me. But I'm not going to stop my social life for the sake of a nights sleep. Cause there is always tonight to look forward to, and that might provide me with one of the rare nights when I sleep all night..... LOL. That happens hardly ever, unless drug induced and I still get up for a pee.

So I'm sorry I've bored you with this sad saga of my being awake, but I've managed to get to 4.24 and it might be that I can now turn off the light and hopefully go back to sleep for a while. The birds have started singing and dawn isn't so far away.

And I need to have a little more sleep as later I have the very last of my birthday celebrations as I'm meeting Wake up in Wilmslow for lunch. We're meeting in the shoe dept of Hoopers, which is a very posh dept store with attitude and great shoes, so purses have to be kept locked till we are able to leave the store and go for food!!!

The photograph was taken on Saturday night when I was out with Queen Vixen and Trousers having a wonderful happy evening with them celebrating my 55th and Trousers 39th birthday, and raising a glass to Lady's birthday the day after.


Sorrow said...

Rock a bye Little Birdie, in the tree top
Hush little FireBird Mommas gonna buy you
a rocking horse..
I don't know to many lullabies..Or the ones I do know are very OUT there..
Shhhhhh go to sleep little earth..
Try this one....
and know that I love you..

Rosaria Williams said...

It's a bummer. I bet you've tried everything already.

Lori ann said...

Oh I do wish you sleep, maybe the hotflushes will stop soon and you'll find relief?
Such a pretty birthday portrait Mandy, you look beautiful.
♥ lori

CheekyDani said...

Oh gosh, poor thing, I can surely relate after having poor sleep since last October - and before (though that was periodical, not regular like it is now). I find it's a pretty fragile balance. Small things make a big difference. I have a few tricks, for instance a glass of milk, or I listen to a chapter of an audiobook (sometimes the same one over and over!) which somehow lets me drop off.

But wishing you sleep my dear, wishing you sleep.


Angela said...

I can beat you by the story of a man I know who claims he hasn`t slept since nine years!! And is still alive.
As you won`t disturb anyone when getting up, I`d advise you to do that and find something useful to do, like ironing or writing hand-written letters. I also find it helpful to take a pill of Magnesia, for some reason. But as you say, a night with little sleep does not harm us. But your bed sounds gorgeous! I also have downs for cover and pillow! Hpw about a little after-noon-nap? Haha, and the veri word suggests: bathe! Good idea!

janis said...

HaHa! I was gonna say, ohh how comfy, I'm getting sleepy...then half way down the blog posting, you became ME!

Val said...

oh man that is such a horrible feeling. doesnt happen to me much but when it does..............
I guess you've tried all the normal ones - even meditation?
Tanvi from Holey Vision had a nice one - try to write your name in full on a blue velvet wall with the palm of your hand. see it, feel it, concentrate. If you lose concentration , start again. I tried it a couple of times and ti worked for me...
good luck x

Mel said...

I was all about the bed!

And then you hit my brick wall.

Ah well....grumble material, that's for sure--but no reason to let that interfere with a birthday bash.
Oh, c'mon.....ONE pair of shoes! JUST one!!!


Lookin' good, byrdie--lookin' good!

Merry ME said...

Byrd, what good, helpful friends you have - giving advice and consolation. All I can say is I want to sleep in your bed!
It was a little weird having you describe my night time routine. I've often wondered if it's the rolling over to find that mmmmm perfect snoozing spot that brings on the flush. It is quite maddening. I have yet to experience the sleeplessness but have heard from my sister whose lifepatterns I tend to follow that it is right around the corner. Stand by - I'm a whiner. Lack of sleep would no good for me or the people who have to live with me.

Happy continued birthday. And I'm with Mel, one pair of shoes with attitude would top off any celebration.

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Sleep deprivation is horrible, I'm so sorry.

I agree with Angela, put the awake time to good use. Don't exercise, as that can work you up even more. But some quiet activity, or meditation, perhaps?
I wish you sleep and rest. Dolphin calls and tubular bells chiming in the wind.

The birthday photo is stunning, by the way.

Dark Side said...

What a lovely relaxed photo of you and so not looking 55...

Your sleep pattern started off just the same as mine, I manage to sleep till about 1am then wake up probably every hour, no idea why I just do...

I have every sympathy with you though because there is nothing worse then waking up tired!!!..xx

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Thank you for such a lovely day. We must do this more often. We're good for each other, I think. Have I mentioned the Chillow to you? It's a pillow that stays cold and helps with hot flushes.

Chris Ford said...

Bed in the afternoon usually works.
Hope you had a great b'day.

Cait O'Connor said...

I could have written this post myself, I was nodding all the way through. I do this too. Been there, done that.

I also take an oestrogen-buster, have you tried taking yours before you go to bed? And I have given up alcohol and coffee which helps. Also I drink either Horlicks or herbal tea (tranquility or any calming ones)last thing. I went through an insomnia phase but it passed, I hope yours does too.

Fire Byrd said...

Thank you all so much for the advice you've given is horrid that so many of us seem to have sleep problems. And I have mastered the art of the 10 minute power nap during the day if I really need it
Especially Cait, I'll try changing the time of the tamoxifen to see if it helps.
And yes I had a wonderful day to Wake up and will look forwrd to the next.
And I had a great birthday thanks Innocent

So hugs and kisses all round

Rosaria Williams said...

Hi, there is an award for you at sixtyfivewhatnow. I hope it brings sleep!

justme said...

That is a lovely happy picture of you!
I do sympathise on the sleep front. I don't have the hot flushes, but I DO have the lying awake willing myself to sleep, in the middle of the night, the waking up EVERY hour, the knowledge that when I will WANT to sleep, it will be time to get up! People suggest all kinds of solutions, but really, NONE of them work. The only consolation is, that despite not sleeping, I am often less tired than I expect to be the next day. So maybe we just don't need as much sleep as we think?
Happy ongoing Birthday! Make the celebrations last for as long as you can....

Lady in red said...

It is very rare for me to sleep right through and most nights I survive on 4 or 5 hours sleep but make up for it at weekends when possible.

thanks for the birthday wish :-)

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