EVEN John Oliver Does It
INTERESTING STUFF – 29 August 2015

Sleeping – or Not - While Old

After several years of trying to fight a hugely irritating sleep difficulty, I've given up and just go with it.

It's called ASPD or Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder which I've written about here in the past. The short version is that can't stay awake much past early evening and then I wake in the middle of the night.

In the past year or so, the malady has morphed into my not being able to sleep more than four hours straight. Then I wake, can't go back to sleep so now I get up for a couple of hours in the middle of night and mostly read until sleep returns.

Well, sometimes. Most often, although my mind and body get tired, I don't feel sleepy again until the evening.

One of the most common complaints I hear from old people is about sleep – or lack thereof. Sometimes it is less about sleep and more about the annoyance of waking frequently to pee but that amounts to the same thing.

Many others don't fall asleep easily and then wake during the night for no reason. Recently, some researchers in Switzerland described the problem they call sleep latency:

”Sleep latency, the length of time it takes you to fall asleep at night, is shown to increase with age, but only for women, with little difference in men's speed of getting to sleep.

“'However, sleep efficiency decreases with age in both genders,' with older people more restless during sleep and more likely to wake up than younger individuals.”

The research team at the University of Lausanne studied 6,733 healthy participants ranging in age from 35 to 75 randomly selected from the population of Lausanne, exluding people with known sleep disorders.

And here is what they learned as described in a paper published in Annals of Medicine in August 2015 and reported in ScienceDaily.

”The research resulted in a number of fascinating findings. It firstly revealed that 'Aging was associated with a gradual shift towards morningness, with the older population going to bed earlier and rising earlier than their younger counterparts.

“It was also observed that they slept for less time. Despite this reduced sleep-time, the paper informs us that 'Older subjects complain less about sleepiness, and pathological sleepiness is significantly lower than younger subjects,' suggesting that they actually require less sleep.”

Complained less? Not me. It's annoying as hell to be awake and full of energy when the rest of the world is sleeping. But there is no useful treatment for ASPD and I try hard to live with it.

What does seem to be true lately is that, as the study suggests, my sleep deficit doesn't bother me as much as when I didn't get enough sleep when I was younger.

So I'm wondering, does any of this study ring true for you? How has your sleep changed as you have grown older?


Since I began a meditation practice, I am sleeping better and more deeply. Before, I commonly awoke at the dreaded 3:00 AM hour kind of in panic mode and unable to fall back asleep. When morning came I was grumpy and out of sorts all day. I need at least 8 hours of sleep to feel like a sane person. Now I sleep through the night and feel rested in the morning. I am a meditation convert, never before believing that something simple like meditation could affect my life so positively in so many ways.

Thank you for posting about this.
I've always been an early riser (5AM-ish), but it's been between 3 and 4AM lately. This is despite my daily life tilting back toward a conventional work schedule. It's working out so far as long as the day doesn't run into the evening.

Yep, at age 67 waking earlier (5 a.m. this morning) and having a hard time falling back asleep. Feel fine in the morning then hit low energy in mid-afternoon and am pretty useless in the evening. If I weren't working I would take an afternoon nap and get rejuvenated but I am working full time so I power through the sleepiness in the afternoon and doze off over my book in the evening.

This may be an case of pathologizing a phenomenon that is actually a reversion to normal human sleep patterns. Try googling "second sleep" to see what I mean. Until the 17th century, apparently, everyone considered it perfectly normal to sleep for a few hours, wake up for an hour or so to study or write or do other quiet non-stressful activities, then fall asleep again for another four hours. There are still cultures where this is the accepted norm. We just happen to live in one that's decided to ignore it.

Street lighting, social activities at night, sleep coming to be seen as a waste of valuable time... and then the Industrial Revolution requiring everyone to wake in lock step to get to work on time no matter how little sleep they'd been able to snatch... all these contributed to the myth that people were SUPPOSED to sleep efficiently in one single compressed block of time.

Just about every working adult today is horribly sleep-deprived. I certainly was! Occasionally someone writes hand-wringing articles about this, but nobody does anything. Nobody can. Our whole society is organized around making sleep the very last priority, the thing people are only allowed to do once they've accomplished everything else that is demanded of them. Only after we retire can we allow our bodies to take all the sleep they want, when they want it. It's not surprising that natural rhythms sometimes start showing up.

Since I found out about second sleep being natural, I've found it a lot easier to relax and get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night. There's no anxiety. Nothing's wrong. It's only my body's healthy reaction to being, at long last, free of that dreaded, hated, alarm clock!

Sounds like a plausible explanation to me. I go to bed early, asleep by 9. Often I awake in the middle of the night and feel that I COULD get up if needed but I lie there praying and drift back to sleep. We are up around 6 each morning.

I have lots of energy in the morning so I make sure to do all my chores and any errands early in the day. I also prefer to write early in the morning as my brain is also more alert at that time. By 4 o'clock I am done and will rarely go out in the evening. Even going out to dinner can be a challenge. It just feels like too much effort to make myself look good and then go out and carry on a conversation over dinner.

Time Goes By first wrote about the second sleep hypothesis in 2013: http://www.timegoesby.net/weblog/2012/04/a-new-explanation-for-elder-insomnia.html

Try taking a nap at 2 pm and see if that helps you stay up a little later in the evening. Personally, I like being awake in the middle of the night. You can get a lot done.

You are retired and can live however you damn well please. Go with it.

I need fewer hours of sleep now, and I regard it as a gift.

I awoke at 3:30 this morning, after getting to sleep at 11:30 p.m. I'll have a rendez-vous with sleep sometime after noon, for 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

I'll awake refreshed, and keep going until 11 p.m., when I'll say hello to sleep for four or five hours.

I kept a sleeptime diary for two months, and I averaged between five and six hours.

I was always a night person, affronted by the need to sleep. Now, when a film, or book keeps me up as late as 1 a.m., I nd curse the clock.

I make love to morning, savoring her gentle silence and sip strong, sweet black coffee in her praise, letting my thoughts roam freely. I do all my writing while the hungry birds gossip outside my balcony, and by noon, my work is done.

You who can nap rejoice.. Many of us cannot.

After reading the comments here I can identify completely with yours, Ronni, and with several of the others as well. I've tried reading in the middle of the night but always hate turning on the light thinking it will really wake me up. However, it does work and eventually (usually) I'll feel sleepy again. The meditation though sounds promising and have flirted with the idea for years but have never followed through, perhaps will try it now. But as others have said, how wonderful to have the time to take a nap, or just enjoy not being an alarm clock slave.

We working people really dread the middle of the night wake up, but I find if I am reading a really excellent book, I'm kind of happy to have that extra hour or so to read.

Nobody has mentioned RLS ('Restless Leg Syndrome') but that is what messes up my sleep patterns, and increasingly so as I get towards 80. Magnesium helps a bit but nothing so far has stopped it completely. I just ordered a pair of special copper bracelets that are reputed to work wonders for RLS sufferers so I am crossing my fingers that they will work for me.

It is interesting to know that others have sleep problems, as I do too. My issues are all over the place, though. Not getting to sleep after going to bed is my main complaint. And while I often sleep better after a day where I have worked out or worked hard, sometimes tight back muscles keep me from relaxing enough to sleep. That's when I turn on a heating pad and place under my back. This works very well for me.

I also experience early waking, sometimes as early as 5am. But I have a personal rule that I will not get up before 6. Somehow that allows me to lie in bed and drift and possibly doze. Like Ronni, I don't nap well. However, sometimes a rest in bed , eyes closed, not sleeping, helps with energy in the afternoon.

I do feel sleep deprived frankly. But I do like being awake early. And I am often wiped out by early evening.

I am one of the very lucky ones. I turn the light off, and am asleep in a few minutes. About once a week I get up during the night to go to the bathroom, but I usually sleep straight through for about 7-1/2 hours. My mother was exactly the same, so I believe that in my case it's hereditary.

All my friends hate me for this, so you're all allowed to do the same!!!!!!

I despise the night. I wish I could sleep through it. It's boring. Late night TV is just a repeat of what I saw during the day. And, late night radio is filled with people who swear they were taken up by Aliens or Right Wing Conservatives degrading the president or Hilary,(maybe they are one in the same). In any event, I can't wait until 5 AM, the time I have been getting up for years. But alas, sleep alludes me. I've tried the warm milk routine and the "Sleepy Time" tea, but they are liquids you see, which only prompts my bladder to get me up at 2, 3, and 4 am. Nyquil and its cousin ZQuil put me right out, but only for a couple of hours. I've thought about buying one of those special pillows advertised on TV, but they are 50 bucks and I doubt it'll work. I know there are stronger meds, and my doc would gladly prescribe them, but I am afraid of their side effects. Perhaps the best solution is just to "Go with the flow" and sleep when I feel sleepy no matter what the time. After all, I'm an old man, and isn't that what old men are supposed to do?

I learned to nap by getting a really comfortable reclining chair for reading. Now, I put a cold drink, on the side table. I get my book. I sit down in the chair and kick back, feet up on the foot stool. I read a page or two, then place the book in a comfortable position on my abdomen so I can rest my eyes for a minute. When I wake up the ice has melted in the cold drink, the book is right where I left it. One or another dog is looking at me expectantly, so I get up, let the dog out, refresh my beverage, and set the book aside for another day. I never nap without lying to myself about my intention to just sit a bit with a good book.

Yep, same story for me, and it seems to be worse this past year-waking up after 2 or 3 hours of sleep. But I have learned to not stay in bed hoping to return to sleep, Instead, I get up have something warm to drink and something to nibble on, read awhile then go back to bed...sometimes sleep comes, sometimes not. Getting 5 or 6 hours straight of sleep is a good night.

I think Frank might have the answer...I once had a recliner chair and I could. not. stay awake. while sitting in that comfy chair, no matter the time of day or my intention! I was out like a light within a few minutes! I finally gave it away to a friend. This was about twenty years ago when I was more active and slept well, So now that I'm in my eighties it might be a good idea to reconsider getting another recliner-if I can find one that will envelope me in softness as that one did!

I've had sleep problems since I was in my 40's - I'm 65 now - I attributed it to stress at the time - working, dating, etc. I have fibromyalgia, which is chronic pain and a sleep disorder. In hindsight, I also see the onset as probably due to hormonal shift issues at that age. I have been given every anti-depressant for sleep (that's what they give to fibromyalgia pts) and even tried the much hated Ambien, which is a horrible and addictive drug. I do better on the over the counter antihistamine pills, and occasionally if I know I'm going to have a bad night, I'll take one half a tab. This class of drugs is *NOT* recommended for seniors. I use them rarely, but they do help me.

My general pattern is to maintain a fairly regular bedtime (around 10pm) fall asleep ok, but wake up at least once during the night and cannot go back to sleep. On a bad night, which is also related to stress, anxiety over something going on in my life, or lack of good "sleep hygiene" - I will wake up numerous times and basically toss and turn and not get restful sleep at all. I used to wake up between 5:30-6:30 am, but lately I seem to be going to bed later and getting up later, more like 7:00 am.

I also have a cat, who is very bonded to me and demanding and although we are used to each other over the years, he does wake me up thru the nite. Insomnia is one of the major reasons I have chosen to be a "solitary" since I simply cannot imagine sharing this issue with a partner.

Lately, instead of turning on the TV in the middle of the night, I am listening to NPR on my phone. I can't get it on my radio where I live. News sort of puts me to sleep, like being read to, without all the hideous commercials on TV news channels, plus the "blue light" of the TV. None of this would be recommended by sleep docs. I don't like to get up and do stuff, that makes me more awake. Sometimes I'll get a small glass of milk and a graham cracker. I also don't like to read in bed, so that doesn't work for me.

I am able to "power nap" altho it often takes me a lot of laying there to get a 20 minute nap. I drink decaf coffee and tea, and try to eat a healthy diet with little added sugar, and drink only about 4 oz. of wine per day. I stick to a healthy routine as much as possible, and I rarely go out in the evening. If I do go out at night, I can pretty much count on a sleepless night, - it winds me up, when I need to wind down.

I definitely notice that I sleep more soundly when I am physically tired, such as from exercising in the later part of the afternoon, or running errands. Since I still work PT, I am not as diligent about exercising as I should be. For me, exercise is the "silver bullet" for sleep issues. Another reader posted the benefits of meditation. Also on my list. Not sure why chasing cash flow is more important than my health, but that's another blog post.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping and being tired all day but it turned out to be central sleep apnea. A c-pap changed all that and turns out to help people like me with asthma and/or COPD as well. Easy 7-8 hours sleep after that, no napping, up at 6am. That was 10 years ago.

Since then I do wake often between 2 and 3am. I just give up and get up and read. Watching TV or playing on the computer seems to make it worse. Sometimes I have a hot cup of herbal tea. After an hour or two I go back to bed. Still wake up at six but not so wide awake anymore, takes me half an hour to feel really awake.. I get really sleepy around 3pm but I avoid naps as that seems to mess my sleep up even more, After dragging myself around for about an hour it wears off. Going for a walk helps too but right now we have more smoke in the air than us wheezoids can tolerate. Exercise does help me, If I get a lot of it in one day I don't wake up in the wee hours at all.

I was always a morning person—up by five, six at the latest—and worked all day, bed at 10, nearly always slept the night through without waking up. Now, at 65, I desperately need a nap at five or so, but if I do nap, it's more like three or four hours, which means I'm up until three and don't wake up until nine. I try to stay awake until nine or ten, but sometimes I just can't . . . so those nights when my sleep schedule is messed up, I read or knit or work crosswords, and have been known to clean the bathroom or kitchen so I won't have to do it the next day. (I'm already up and obviously wide awake; why not?) I live alone except for the cats and the dog, and am retired, so I just do what my body is determined to do. And usually, after a few days of this weirdness, things straighten out and I'm on a 'normal' sleep schedule for a week or so. Exercise (yard work, in my case, or walking a mile or so) helps, but some days the arthritic knee doesn't permit that. I'm just fortunate that I don't very often HAVE to get up early, or go somewhere when I really need to sleep.

You don't have to be old to have sleep problems. I've read that in the past, sleep was often done in two parts. You go to sleep shortly after dark; sleep for a few hours; then get up and do something constructive for couple of hours (read, write, play music, do a craft); then take your "second sleep" until dawn. Not a bad way to do it, if you ask me!

I'm one of the lucky ones. I go to sleep the minute my head hits the pillow, and if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I go right to sleep afterward..

My husband, however, wakes up two or three times during the night and has a terrible time going back to sleep. His physician recommended that he take over-the-counter melatonin tablets. He thinks they help a little.

Has anyone tried the old .remedies: warm milk or a snack of turkey?

Similar to Jane I have had fibromyalgia since my mid-40's. While I desperately need sleep to make daytime pain more bearable, achieving a restful sleep too often eludes me. I stumble around with cocktails of prescriptions and OTC remedies. Antidepressants for me do more harm than good. Some drugs make it worse at times and alternately help at others. I almost dread those first moments in bed the most as the tight muscles try to relax. As age has been overtaking me, the fun has intensified. Ah, what fun. My husband is a saint to tolerate me and my various ranges of being able to cope. Yet I will be darned if it will keep me from enjoying the freedoms and rewards that come from persevering. Exercise in the forms of gardening and hobbies help, Haven't tried meditation. Do wish the researchers are successful soon to help us all!

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the myth that elders don't need as much sleep as they did when they were young. Studies have shown this to be false.

I have had insomnia since I was in my 40's, but it was intermittent then. Now it's a constant. The older I get the oftener my bladder calls me to the 'throne" and , once awake, I have trouble going back to sleep.

I think I must have read every article written on how to get a good night's sleep and I have tried every suggestion offered. All to no avail.

One of the joys of being retired is that I can do the second sleep thing and not get up until 8 or 9am after I go back to bed.

But nothing beats a night of an 8 hour sleep with no interruptions. Now if I could only achieve that once more. Sigh!

In past years not a problem.
Always early to bed 8:00 and up by 5:00.
Now I would never take a nap
thinking I would never go to sleep.
Fortunate no sleeping problems
until 78 and now 80
and guess it is here to stay.
I do everything recommended
do find that listening to my ocean tape
keeps my mind empty of thoughts of past years.

I wonder if this has something to do with what a doctor friend of mine sees as a "sleep apnea" scam. I know so many people, including me, who have been diagnosed with this. I'm determined to lose the 20-30lbs I need to lose before paying out thousands of dollars for something I know no one who tolerates it. The doctor who did the initial test on me has written a book on various things you can do on your own, but when I asked him about them, he said none would work and losing weight certainly wouldn't ????? After weight loss, I will get a second opinion of course, too.

I have pretty much same sleep issues. I get between 8-9 1/2 hours each night, with no problem going to sleep but then many sleep interruptions. I sleep the first four hours quite well then I wake suddenly and have to pee. Usually no problem going back to sleep, However, as I crawl back into bed I feel like I won't go back to sleep. Then, the crazy, other-worldly dreams start around 3 am. I wake up in a total panic and have to deep-breath myself back to sleep. I often wake up suddenly in the morning with mild to wild anxiety. I sit quietly, drink my coffee, check email, etc. I settle down. I dread the night time and the dark. If it were daylight when I wake up at 3, I would get up and start my day or possible fall back asleep in my comfy chair with computer in my lap and coffee at my side. Such is life at 75.

Fever since I became a widow 2 yrs ago I've had to take Benadryl lowest dose. I read a little in bed and fall right to sleep. I usually turn out the light at 11:00 ish and wake up once to pee. If it's still dark, I drink a little water and I can get back to sleep until around 6:30/7:00. If I don't take the pill, I wake many times and my brain kicks in too much. I don't seem to have any ill effects from the Benadryl.. I do get sleepy around 8:00 pm and wish I could nap to avoid this, but my body or mind just won't.

I was once an Olympic level sleeper. 8 hours, 10 hours, an afternoon nap. All to be enjoyed. Then the unthinkable started happening, I would wake up several times a night and be unable to go back to sleep. I did a sleep study, got a CPAP, tried Ambien, tried Lunesta, all to no avail. Over a period of about 10 years I have made my peace with sleep. I still wake up but I don't stress over it. If sleep doesn't return I listen to audio books or favorite podcasts. Sometimes I get up for an hour and start a load of laundry, or unload the dishwasher. I like to go back to sleep in my comfy chair sometimes with a cat on my lap. I'm usually up for the day at 6 and I try to get everything done that needs to be done by 1 or 2 pm when I settle in for a nap; sometimes I nap and sometimes just listen to NPR. This seems to be the best way for me at this time.

I'm a worrier. I can be exhausted and starting to nod off, but I get in bed, squirm around until I'm comfortable, then lie there awake for hours, worrying. I have legitimate reason for worry, but I won't burden you with my worries.

I've been taking Ambien for several years now. It works for about 2 to 4 hours. Unfortunately the body becomes accustomed to it and it loses its potency to work over time, so you require higher and higher dosages. Or you must do without it for awhile, losing sleep for many nights and then re-starting the medication. Some people do have strange side-effects like sleep-walking or, I've read, even sleep-driving -- that terrifies me, but it hasn't happened to me. I can't take Lunesta as it makes everything I eat taste like an old iron pipe, although it does put me to sleep.

I've read too many articles about links between antihistamine usage and Alzheimer's Disease so I am afraid to use antihistamines for sleep. I have tried warm milk or melatonin, but they do not work for me. Barbiturates do help, but none of my doctors will prescribe them anymore. Too dangerous, they say -- even though we don't keep alcohol in the house.

Perhaps if we move back to Colorado I can use weed to get the sleep I need without a prescription..

I don't usually have trouble sleeping, but I have a new kitten - who decides to play in the middle of the night and thinks mom has to watch. She does this nearly every night, at least once. My problem comes when she wakes me; I get up to pee and take my phone into he bathroom, where I manage to sit until my lower extremities are numb, while scanning Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes I can go right back to sleep with no problem, but more often I just lie there, hoping for more sleep.

I can't recommend highly enough the soothing power of the voices of NPR or BBC to induce sleep. I discovered this when cataracts precluded reading in the dim light of a bedroom and bright light was unthinkable. As another reader said, it's like being a child and being read to until you drift away. NPR rarely broadcasts disturbing stuff in the middle of the night and even if the news isn't great, it's read in such gentle, civilized tones that on low volume it's better than any pill.

As a dedicated night person, I'm seldom in bed before 3 a.m. (usually 4 a.m.) and my sleep is interrupted every hour or two for peeing because I take Lasix for BP. I still require 8 to 10 hours sleep every 24, so I'm not awake until noon or so, then have to do my bed-yoga or suffer more arthritic pain than usual. That means I'm short a couple hours, so that gets made up after dinner when I am attempting to watch TV. That's when my brain kidnaps my body for a two hour unscheduled nap.

But my eccentric sleep habits don't prevent me from doing much of anything except making the phone calls that have to be made during "business hours." Whether it's dark or light outside, I can do household chores or go on line or handle home office work at 2 a.m. as easily as at 2 p.m. I sometimes wonder how I ever managed to fit myself into the normal world's sleep/eat/work schedule before I retired.

I have an iPod and I regularly update the podcasts that I download. When I get into bed, I put the ear buds in, and on a good night I only hear a few minutes of the chosen podcast. If I wake in the night, I listen again and it usually puts me back to sleep quickly, I decided a long time ago that I don't want my brain doing too much conscious thinking at night...I usually don't like where the thoughts go. So I choose to listen to soothing voices about popular culture or books or health and it is usually soothing enough to send me to sleep.

Best things I've done for sleep have been a) exit stressful job b) limit alcohol to weekends c) gardening d) exercise e) very simple meditation in which one counts 1-10, and then 10-1, over, and over, and over again. Still wake at night, but, not so often and rarely so miserably.

I have sleep apnea, which is you get no REM sleep because your body is waking you up because you are not breathing.
I am also a night owl. 2am I'm still awake...But I sleep till maybe 11am.

Really a good subject, Ronni. Thanks. For those with sleep problems, I recommend a Pulmanologist - - a sleep doctor. Mine has solved my sleep-apnea problems, (I'm not overweight, but have darned little chin), with one of the newer C-Pap machines. And I DO love it. No kiddin'. For my restless legs, which preclude sleep, she has me on [prescription drugs] - - and now RLS seldom a problem, particularly after a day with a couple of hours of volleyball. I'm a nite person, but any kind of a nap shoots down sleep for hours.

Please note that in Tim Hays' comment above, a pulmanologist is a specialist in diseases of the respiratory tract and in not sleep itself - only if the sleep difficulties are related to respiratory conditions and diseases.

All my life I have said that my ideal sleeping time would be 2 a.m. to 10 a.m.. School, then babies, then jobs precluded my following my natural inclination--till retirement. YAY. However, I had insomnia and the disrupted sleep patterns you spoke of for many years, while mothering and working, and an active case of crippling rheumatoid arthritis on top of that. I was always sleep deprived, and an RA patient is supposed to get 8-10 hours out of 24 for optimum health.
Finally, I said "26 years of not sleeping is enough, so I"ll ask for sleeping pills." I did and took Ambien, then Lunesta, then Elavil for years with no major problems. Just recently my heart doctor asked me to get off the Elavil and I thought I'd probably never sleep again. I was allowed to try Benadryl. Well--I am sleeping 8 hours most nights, going back to sleep easily, taking long naps with my kitty cat (1-3 hours) and falling asleep numerous times at the computer, not being able to wake myself long enough to turn the darn thing off! AND I'm not even taking the Benadryl on a regular basis. Puzzling, but I''ll take it--I suppose it's being 82--I saw my mother sleep for about 12 hours out of 24 when she was in her 80's.

I'm not too bothered by sleeplessness as long as I take my medication for Restless Leg Syndrome, a most frustrating condition that, without the Rx, hits again and again every time I start to drop off to sleep. I also take Magnesium during the day, but not sure it really helps. Like most here, I experience one, sometimes two bathroom visits each night, so I'm sure to limit liquids (tea, wine) to before 2-3 pm.

For help falling asleep or getting back to sleep, I can suggest listening to the BBC Radio in London, or a variety of international stations even further afield. Just download to your phone, iPad, computer, or even your Smart TV the app called Tune In Radio. Then search by country for what you'd like to hear playing live in real time. Your choices can be saved as favorites making it easy to return and change around from one to another.

BBC Radio 4 is quiet, intelligent adult conversation, mostly timely discussions, interviews, book reviews, medical ethics, and drama. I love the radio plays and something called Book at Bedtime, which are in 15 minute segments usually over 10 nights. When I try to listen to two parts in a row, I fall asleep and have to relisten the next day, They run at 10:45 pm British time, so must use the recorded episodes to listen at our bedtimes (they are 5 hours ahead). Go to Radio 4's website to search for Book at Bedtime and click on "Available Now" for the list. It's lovely being read to! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qtlx/episodes/player

My mother suffered as does my brother. I thought I had escaped the early sleeping curse (ASPD) but it came to me in my late 50's. My social life has changed and because of my family history I knew not to fight it but rather learn to enjoy going to bed shortly after dinner. I love the internet to entertain me for hours in the middle of the night. I'm glad I was a night owl in my fun early adulthood and have accepted that to everything there is a season.

I'm 72. For many years my sleep has been broken into two sectins of about 3 hours each, with an awake time of 1-2 hours in between. I read recently (i can't remember where) that biologically that is the way we should sleep. I do need a nap most days. I have stopped worrying about it and just accept that this is normal for me.

Thinking and worrying keeps me awake. My husband and me are night people so we don't go to bed until 1 or after. I will be very sleepy but then start thinking and worrying and can't go to sleep so I get up and watch some TV or read for about two hours.. I will be very sleepy but again the worrying and thinking will keep me awake. Some nights I only get 4 hours of sleep. I don't want to take sleep medication and have listened to my iPod and thought of meditation but haven't tried it yet. I took a course in self hypnosis but I'll have to refresh my memory on what to do....it was years ago.
I'm 85 and the doctor doesn't think it is any big deal since I'm retired and can sleep whenever I want to.......It's nice to know I'm not alone....

I can not believe that no one mentioned melatonin. Used it for years. Works like a charm. One of the hormones that we have less of as we age. Helps me get to sleep. Then I take a little bit more after I wake for the bathroom. Right back to sleep.

Lyn Burnstine... Thanks for mentioning RA . Most people have no idea how exhausted people with RA and similar ailments can get. It can be overwhelming... yet, sleep in difficult. It also doesn't matter how much or how little I sleep. When every fiber in me hurts and I am so exhausted I can't breathe.. Well, it's not funny McGee.

I use humor to get me through most days. Mix in crying spells when necessary (like today)

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this post. I had meant to come back sooner to catch up with comments.
I appreciate Ronni writing about this subject; also appreciate the comments.

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