3.16am. I am so sick of seeing those numbers on my clock. I used to see them often in my early 20s when i tumbled back from a nightclub and took a certain sense of pride at rocking home after 3am.
Now those numbers mock me – smugly telling me that once again I will have a sleepless night. And it is ironic that most of the day I suffer brain fog and forgetfulness. But for some reason between 3 and 4.30am I can recall with total clarity every single mistake I have ever made in my life. And however tired I was when I went to bed – I will now be 100% wide awake.
Marlene Dietrech said it was the friends you can call at 4am that count. And this is potentially true. And I have a few that I probably could call at 4am. But only for emergencies – possibly of the kind involving something more critical than wanting to mull over the time that I took my trousers to the dry cleaners and when the man behind the counter shook them my pants with the pictures of kittens on them flew out of one of the legs and if maybe enough time has passed for me to go in again without being recognised . Or wanting to discuss the email I sent to the wrong person at work. Or any of the other mistakes I have made over the decades.
Without sleep I transform from a grumpy menopausal woman to an very tall demonic toddler ready to let the world know I AM NOT HAPPY. And this is becoming an increasing problem lately due to changes at work. I can work from home a couple of days a week and so used to be able to fall back asleep at around 5am and sleep til 8.50am then dash to my laptop and log on and join any conference calls from 9am. This helped a lot – as opposed to alternative of falling asleep at 5.30am then having to get up at half six to get ready for work and travel in.
I’d look a total mess but as only my Sweet Dog saw me (and she adores me and thinks I am the most beautiful person in the entire world even when I have fallen out of bed looking like a burst couch) it didn’t really matter too much. I can sit with my hair matted and my old pajamas and it is absolutely fine.
But then some feckin TechnoGeek at work discovered a way for us all to install cameras on our laptops and in the office – so we can ‘see each other’ when we are in different locations. And it was “virtually free so no real cost”. The other TechnoGeeks were chuffed to bits about this and quickly set about installing the software. I, and other menopausal women along with other women that take more than 5 mins to be able to be seen without scaring small children, were what you would call ‘late adopters’ of this technology. But then the three line whip came out – “you MUST have it installed – it is all lovely when we can all see each other”
Well I beg to feckin differ!. It is crap. In order to look presentable on the camera I must get up and look presentable in real life – from the waist up anyway. This takes at least 45 minutes – so forty five minutes taken off my sleep is a LOT. It is also impossible to put the phone on speaker and mute and wander around putting washing on; dusting; doing a few situps in an effort to be fit; flicking through a magazine; do your nails (and on one memorable day full of long conference calls repaint the entire hall) etc while you listen just enough to be able to make a sensible comment if your name is mentioned. AND you have to tidy up all the area around you as the camera captures that too and people judge… even if they say they don’t… they DO! Jane thought it was funny to put a comment up on the screen about the chocolate wrappers on the dresser behind me but it so wasn’t. Especially on four hours sleep. TBH nothing much was funny that day.
My friends daughter was trying to get some sympathy for her current sleepless nights with her new son – but it became a bit of a one upmanship on who got the fewest hours sleep in a night. ‘But I don’t see how the menopause can be worse than a screaming baby in terms of keeping you awake’ she said – genuinely confused (her time will come!!!!)
So I explained what she had to look forward to. Hot flushes – they wake you up!! Having to go to the loo several times a night isn’t great for a good nights kip (once I woke up with my face crushed against the wall where I had fallen asleep on the loo). Anxiety reaches its peak around 3.30am and it is necessary to worry about many things such as did you switch the cooker off. And then you have to get up to check it – just in case. Then you get there and forget why you went downstairs. So you give the dog a biscuit and head back upstairs only to remember the bloody cooker again. So back down again. Which means another biscuit for the dog and possibly a chocolate hobnob for yourself. Then you are wide awake.
Low testosterone is also a cause of poor sleep. I used to think testosterone was a man thing til I read a Health magazine that told me women actually produce more testosterone than estrogen pre menopause. And as levels decline when we hit the menopause, your sleep, your mood and your sex drive may also start to fall. Reduced levels of progestorone can also cause frequent waking and difficulty getting back to sleep.
And the days I have to go into work make this worse. Just as I am deep deep into the most wonderful sleep ever my alarm goes off (bloomin James Blunt – ‘you’re beautiful’ wakes me up – was good for first few times but not I am sick of it and can’t get it off my programmable alarm which cost a fortune so I just keep waiting til I can find someone to help me fix it and replace it with a bit of Ed Sheeran). I have a short internal debate and decide my hair isn’t too bad – so decide to snooze for 20 mins as I’ve saved that time. Then it goes off again and I decide that I can just have a roll and sausage at work rather than make my porridge and fruit dish – so another 10 min snooze. Then I decide probably I can do my make up in the car at the traffic lights (not 100% sure if this is legal – Highway code says something about phones but make up application they are less clear on) so another 10 mins. Then finally I leap out of bed and go for it – and will be half way to work before I realise I have forgotten my make up and my hair tie so am therefore looking like someone who hasn’t slept and has made no effort. Which is in effect true. And can work to my advantage sometimes – have been sent home sick more than once when wearing no make up due to the awful pallor and dark eye bags I display without my Clarins Cover all Mega Thick foundation.
Need to find a cure…
Sweet Dog says NO NO NO – she likes her biscuits in the night..