In the bad old days … pre-retirement days … I used to wake up some times in the middle of the night feeling some kind of dread, uneasiness or just plain worried.
Whether dealing with difficult issues at work, a house that constantly needed maintenance or merely counting money all the time in order to keep the wolf from having puppies in our living room, I absolutely hated waking up in the middle of the night to some dread.
I mentioned it to my VA doctor after I retired and she had only one suggestion, don’t drink much after 5:00 pm and try to avoid getting up to tinkle in the middle of the night.
Well, now that we are into our lifestyle, I drink liquids late in the evening at my own risk. I know that I will probably have to answer the tinkle bell and may or may not struggle to fall back asleep. Not as much as I used to however.
The one thing … I still wake up ready to get up at 5:00 a.m. which I did when I was working. So I try to force myself back to sleep, generally by counting slowly down from 100 or up from 0 and drifting off around half way. But it no longer comes with some unknown or known dread or worry … unless worrying about not sleeping through for 8 hours can be called dread.
I’m reminded of an 85-year old friend who lives on Willapa Bay and who said he wakes up every night around 3:00 a.m., goes in the living room and watches 1-2 episodes from the inspiration channel and falls asleep or goes back to bed.
My sweetheart will sometimes find herself awake with her thoughts, not so much worrisome thoughts but what she calls “churning” where the mind thinks its time to be busy so it is.
Before we fall asleep every night, we are in the habit of watching an episode from some old comedy series on one of our Kindle Fires. We watched all the Frasier episodes, Northern Exposure, Coach and are working our way through Cheers and 3rd Rock From the Sun which, when it’s over, we’ll probably start watching Mash. We usually make it through a single episode but sometimes when I know she is asleep I end it in mid-episode and we take it up again the next night.
So right now, if we find ourselves awake, we rely on John Lithgow as Dick Solomon (3rd Rock) to put us back to sleep … although sometimes we laugh so hard we had to see another episode cause we are still wide awake.
When we’ve seen all the episodes from 3rd Rock, mayhap we’ll check out South Park. It’s been recommended.
Bottom line is “Up in the Night” comes with our retirement territory and no longer feels like an omen of bad mental health.