Trying to keep moving forward

I feel as if I am fighting myself. On the one side there is the part of me that is feeling totally wiped out. My very bones ache and I so want to just curl up somewhere warm and rest. On the other side is the part of me that firmly believes that a lot of health issues are down to attitude. If I can keep myself going with a positive frame of mind then I will be just fine. I am tired but it is no big deal and I will recover.

I am guessing that my symptoms stem from my daughter’s all night party at the weekend. I have plenty of friends around my age who can regularly party the night away, feel weary the next day but, after a day or two of rest, go about their normal lives without fuss. I hate fuss but it seems that I do not cope well with such excitement.

If I were to mention the way I feel to any family members then I know that I would not get any empathy. I am the one who can lie around all day remember. Husband has work, kids have school and homework, all get a lot less sleep than me due to my unique habit in this house of going to bed early. If I ever dare complain about feeling tired it is speedily pointed out to me how easy my life is compared to theirs.

I take all of this on board and end up berating myself. I still feel exhausted but guilty for doing so. It takes me a long time to recover from a weekend such as the one we have just enjoyed, and I did enjoy it.

I am guessing that this all stems from underlying issues in my life that never really go away. When I was in my twenties I was diagnosed with ME. I was fortunate in that I was not as seriously affected as many, but it did change the way I could live my life. I had to be aware that when I started to feel run down I needed to take action before it got out of hand leaving me bed ridden. This happened quite a few times and was hard to manage, especially as I lived alone.

The doctor who treated me was sympathetic at a time when many thought the illness was imagined. He offered to put me on medication but also pointed me at research suggesting that well controlled diet, exercise and lifestyle choices could be more effective in offering relief. I am so grateful for his advice. Since that time I have been managing my well being by ensuring that I do not allow myself to get over tired, that I sleep and eat well, and stay moderately active.

The flaw in this thinking is how I coped when I had kids. Giving birth to three children in three and a half years meant that I went for at least five years without a decent nights sleep. And I got through because I had no other choice. I then went through a lot more years when I was socialising regularly with other mums; late nights, lots of wine, fun parties. And I coped.

I cannot help but harbour a niggling doubt that the supposed illness was all in my head. I feel guilty because I wonder if my family are right, if I am making the sort of fuss that I despise.

I do seem to need more sleep than most. I feel better when I am taking regular exercise and eating sensibly. None of this is indicative of illness though, it is common sense that a well treated body will function more effectively. I do not know if the extreme tiredness that I feel is typical of someone my age or a recurrence of my former malaise.

I will not be seeking medical advice about this because there is still no cure for chronic fatigue. If that is what this is then I already know how to treat it. Yet still it feels like a first world problem, it feels like a selfish desire for sympathy that I do not deserve.

I guess I will return to my carefully managed diet and exercise, meditation and sleep. Even if I am not properly ill this treatment would be beneficial for anyone.

I wish that I did not feel so pathetic that I am looking to justify feeling unwell when others cope fine with far greater challenges. I wonder why I feel so uncomfortable with being kind to myself.

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The annual hunger games begin

The Hunger Games have started. Tributes have been selected and the game makers are rubbing their hands with glee as another spectacle of control and conformation to societal expectation gets under way.

How boring is this? Another New Year and yet another attempt to lose weight (yawn). I wonder how many of us have chosen to take part and why. How much is down to good intentions and how much to a desire to conform to the media’s unrealistic promotion of a utopian dream of beauty and never ending youthful looks?

Some of you may be spotting a flaw with the maths. After all, New Year started a week ago. However, my logic works like this: I get given chocolate for Christmas; if I don’t finish the chocolate before I go on a diet then I will be unable to resist the chocolate and the diet will fail; there is therefore no point in starting the diet until all the Christmas chocolate has been consumed.

I have a mindset that requires priming. Knowing that I am going to restrict my consumption of food, I need to allow myself all the treats that will be forbidden before I start. By allowing myself to indulge I can resist for longer once I move into the arena. The trick is to make noticeable progress that I will be inspired to maintain before my resolve weakens. For me, this is the hardest part.

I have been trying to lose weight since I was a teenager. Think Bridget Jones. Each year I succeed in losing an impressive number of lbs, and each year I gain more than I should. A couple of years ago I had a rare success. When the losses and the gains were added up I had managed to shed in excess of 40lb. For my age I was fit and felt fabulous.

Unfortunately I couldn’t maintain this happy result and the weight crept back on. There were no good reasons behind this, I simply allowed myself to eat too much of the wrong sort of food. Hence I am now facing another New Year with another determination to work off the spare tyres and improve my eating habits.

It is not all about looks. I am no beauty, not least because I am too lazy to maintain good grooming habits. I would like to feel better in my clothes, to have them skim rather than cling, but my main incentive is to improve my fitness and thereby my energy levels. When I carry less weight I just feel so much better in myself.

I do not, not, not wish to become a diet bore. I recognise that these Hunger Games will not be entertaining for others. Nevertheless, being constantly hungry will result in me thinking about food and self imposed restriction. Working out will result in me feeling tired, achy and smugly self satisfied when I achieve my workout goals.

The films to which I flippantly refer star an actress who is unusual amongst her contemporaries in refusing to conform to the entertainment industry’s size zero ideal. I admire her for her willingness to promote the fact that food is not the enemy, that people are supposed to be different shapes and sizes.

Nevertheless, it is not good for my health to be the size that I am. Forget size zero, I am aiming for a USA size 10 (UK size 12). For my height this puts me in the healthy weight range. I will not be a skinny but will feel so much better in myself.

If I do mention diet and fitness too often in the coming weeks then I apologise. If I emerge a victor then you can be sure that I will let you know.

Let the Hunger Games begin, and may the odds be ever in my favour.

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Illness

I have a healthy body. Apart from a few, minor, chronic issues that have hung around from the occasional, previous illnesses I have endured (none serious), or that are a result of simply living my life and ageing, I enjoy good, physical health. Sometimes I see others come down with an apparently endless stream of minor ailments that seem to demand attention and medication, and catch myself thinking that they are making an unnecessary fuss. With a more robust attitude, they could push through the discomfort without intervention and allow their bodies to heal naturally. I catch myself being unsympathetically smug and self righteous; sometimes I realise that I have a very unpleasant person inside me, lurking in the shadows. I cannot know of other’s needs or how they are feeling.

A week or so ago my youngest son developed a cold. He was feeling a bit achy and tired but kept going and didn’t fuss unduly; my kids know better than to expect much sympathy for such things. Inevitably, I picked up the virus. It settled in my sinuses and caused discomfort but was, quite simply, a cold. No need to talk about it or stop normal activities. I expected my son to continue with school and I was determined that I could continue with my routine.

Except I couldn’t seem to shake it off. The sniffles and the achiness developed into chills and sweats; headaches and nausea ensued. I was feeling very unwell so decided to give myself a break and have a day of rest to allow my body to heal. I snuggled down under a duvet to read my book and catch up with blog posts.

Is it the time of year or can we catch stuff off the internet? It seemed that every other blogger I follow was suffering from some sort of illness, most of them considerably more serious than mine. And a lot of these women have little kids to look after. Sure, I still had to get up in the morning to see that my family started their day as they should, I had to put a meal on the table each evening, but for a lot of the time I can properly rest. These other mothers had no such luxury.

Every last one of the writers sharing their thoughts was feeling seriously under the weather, and guilty as hell for not being able to keep going. There was no fussing or indulgence going on here. They had been physically floored yet felt that they should be trying to drag their bodies through their working day for the sake of their families.

It has made me think about differing attitudes to occasional sickness. There seem to be those who will turn to the doctor and expect medication at the slightest sign of a possible issue. Then there are those for whom the doctor is a last resort, who will wait for a full blown, debilitating illness before thinking of seeking medical intervention. And how we respond ourselves seems to determine how we regard other’s behaviour; talk about being judgemental!

I try so very hard not to judge others, yet time and again I fail. I feel more sympathy for these people I have never met, whose lives I know only through what they write, than I do for many of those around me. Of course, there are friends who suffer serious, and recurring health issues; who do their best to soldier on with whatever medication can help. Why do I admire this stoicism yet fail to dredge up sympathy for others whose illnesses may be debilitating but, in my eyes (and what do I know anyway) not serious?

I admire and envy those who always seem to be able to naturally respond with kindness and empathy. Too often I am awkward and tongue tied, spouting platitudes that reek of insincerity even when that is not what I am thinking. I too easily show irritation or impatience; it is as if the gentle kindness that I would prefer to offer has been buried too deeply to be seen.

I wonder how much of the way we react to others is affected by how we are treated ourselves; how much is a reflection, learned behaviour. Is the brusqueness that I inadvertently convey a part of me or a reaction to how I have been treated? What traits am I encouraging in my offspring?

I am saddened when I do not think kinder thoughts or react in a less than empathetic manner. Given the way I act, I do not expect to be treated gently myself. This illness will pass, hopefully without inconveniencing my family. If any of the bloggers that I follow and who are ill read this, I wish you and yours a speedy recovery too.

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Self help

Between aches and minor injuries I have been feeling rather battered since I returned home from our camping trip last week. This could be a hangover from sleeping on an air bed and sitting on uncomfortable chairs for five days, although I have not suffered in this way after previous trips. Perhaps the aches have been my body fighting some minor illness; perhaps it is just a sign of old age.

I rarely consult a doctor when I feel unwell. The human body is such an amazing thing and most infirmities will self heal given time. Doctor’s seem to think that, if they are consulted, then they have to offer some sort of medicine to relieve symptoms during the time it takes for the body to sort itself out. Given the cost of a prescription, I prefer to cope as best I can without.

To clarify, I am not talking about serious illness or injury here, but rather the minor ailments that can cause misery and inconvenience only for as long as it takes the body to mend itself. Science has shown time and again that the placebo effect is as powerful as drugs for these sort of complaints. I believe that I will recover without medication so it is as likely as not that I will.

None of this helps me to feel less bothered by my aching shoulder muscles, tired legs and damaged foot. Having spent too much of this week resting up and comforting myself with food, I now feel bloated and cross with myself for the unnecessary indulgence. I may not be capable of tackling an invigorating walk in the countryside but I do not need to remain quite so sedentary.

I rather like this quote: ‘You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.’ It reminds me that we have a responsibility to look after the vessel in which we exist. When people complain about how they look (and yes, I have been known to do this too) I am reminded that, whatever we have been given, it is all we have and we should be looking after it and appreciating the wonder of the way it operates. There is an implicit ingratitude when we obsess over how others view our vessel’s external appearance.

I have lost count of the number of days I have woken up determined to do better; this is another of those days. The sun is out and I am once again determined to show my body a little more respect. I do struggle with self control as regards food. I mean, I derive so much pleasure from just eating. If I am to regain my feel good self then I need to show a little more sense in this area.

It is tempting to consider all the people I know who suffer from illnesses and issues that cannot be cured by lifestyle changes and positive thinking, and to try to pull myself up on the fuel of guilt. I have never found this to be very effective. Sure I can be grateful for what I have, but guilt is a destructive emotion. I have found that persuading myself to change because it is right for me will lead to longer lasting and more effective results. I guess this shows me up to be a selfish creature.

Perhaps for the same reason I do not read self help books, which tend to focus on how amazing someone else has been at orchestrating change in their life. You know what? That is their life, not mine. I need to work this one out for myself.

Just as advice for mothers is too often veiled criticism of how they are behaving, so lifestyle advice can too often come across as blame. Knowing that I put on weight because I eat too much is not going to help me to lose weight; I already know this is my fault. What I need is a strategy that will work for me, that will allow me to live my life while eating less.

I have no idea if I will manage it this time. Whatever the outcome, I will not beat myself up over failures, I already feel battered enough. From past experience I know that my general health and well being improves when I am fitter and leaner; that is my focus. If I am to recover from these aches and pains then I need to show my body more respect, but I need to do this in a way that suits me.

Onwards and upwards then; wish me luck!

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Listening to our bodies

The human body is an amazing thing. It will flag up problems that need attention and self repair all but the most serious of issues with a minimum of intervention. Good health and pain free living are too easily taken for granted until we suffer their loss. Most of us will face our daily tasks, chores and entertainments assuming that we can cope with whatever treatment we give our bodies and will recover. Perhaps it is only as we age and the aches and complaints take longer to heal that we realise how much better life can be if we take good care of ourselves.

As another new week begins I will be trying to treat my body better. Last week was a lot of fun with birthdays to celebrate and parties to look forward to but the aftermath of such frivolity and high living hit me yesterday. It would seem that I need my sleep and am not good at coping with the effects of rich food and wine consumed at odd times. My body was telling me that I have not been treating it well and, as it is the only one I will ever have, I intend to listen to it.

There are those in my local friendship group who appear to socialise and party with a regularity that I do not believe I could cope with. When my body tells me to rest and recuperate it does so loudly; I suspect it is attitude as much as age. I am happy to accept the excuse that I need to give myself time to recover as I enjoy a time of solitude and reflection as I go about my daily routine. I am generally content to live repetitively and quietly with just the occasional highlight to look forward to from time to time.

My children are now home from their various school and scout trips and camps. Much as I like to see them enjoying the experiences that travel and adventure offer it felt good to have them all back and safe in their own beds. We felt rather jaded yesterday evening and welcomed the chance of an early night. This morning I awoke feeling ever so much better after a full eight hours sleep – it is quite some time since I have managed that.

Waking my children for school was not so easy. Overtired and physically weary they were not in the best of moods as they headed out to catch their bus. I do hope that they manage to stay calm through their day but suspect that this evening could be trying. They do not always react well to the effects of excessive activity and poor sleep. It doesn’t help that they will also have had to cope with an unusual diet. The fuel that we give to our bodies has a significant effect on how well we operate. The young may be more capable of a quick recovery from such treatment than their elders but they still require recovery time – a fact that they do not always seem to appreciate.

Having had one of the laziest days ever yesterday, which probably helped my mood if not the state of my house, today will be busy for me. As well as the damp and muddy clothing that the children presented to me on their return I have a sodden tent opened out on the floor of our family room to dry. There is a lot of sorting out for me to tackle but this is fine. It would seem that a quiet and ordinary life suits me better than high excitement. As the weather has returned to the cold and damp of winter, even if we are now well through March, I will not be tempted to venture far. A little hibernation this week will do me good.

Listening to our bodies and responding appropriately to physical needs requires awareness but is generally obvious and straightforward. Listening to our minds and responding appropriately to our mental health requirements can be more challenging. Accepting myself for what I am and avoiding attempts to follow a more conventional lifestyle with it’s social highlights and large group get togethers can be hard, but only because I am allowing myself to think that I should be having the sort of fun that others appear to enjoy. I have no wish to shun society but am much more comfortable meeting up with one person or a small group on an occasional basis. I need to allow myself to live a life that suits me.

What worked well last week was my night away with my husband. How fortunate I am that the person whose company I enjoy the most lives with me. A night out with him, but not too late a one, can be a social highlight that I will truly enjoy. With my friends I think I am best sticking to a walk or a coffee. Neither of these is likely to result in my body feeling as though it has been brutalised as it did yesterday. I am such a party lightweight.

For now I have much to do as I face this new week. A gentle approach to the tasks to be completed along with sparse and simple food will soon have me feeling healthy again. My body is telling me to be mindful of my needs and, on this occasion at least, I am going to do as I am told.

Health

Inconvenient illness

Over the last few days I have been feeling a little bit under the weather. I have probably picked up some minor bug – there seem to be a lot of them going around – but it has left me feeling queasy and drained. I am not ill in a big way so do not require medical intervention or oodles of sympathy. It is more of an inconvenience as it has zapped my energy and thereby turned my normal routine into something that requires a lot more effort.

We are not big on sympathy in this house. When someone claims to be ill I expect to see obvious proof – fever, vomit or an ability to sleep for most of the day. I can usually tell when a member of my family is feeling a bit unwell because of the change in their behaviour, but I am of the opinion that a lot of minor illnesses can be sorted with paracetamol and a good night’s sleep. If a patient is unwilling to accept the need for bed rest then they are not that ill.

My attitude was probably developed when I was in my late teens. My parents would have been much more sympathetic than I am and were quite willing to coddle me if I told them that I felt unwell. However, much as I enjoyed this warmth and attention I would not be willing to miss out on a special social event with my friends just because I had a minor cold or fever. Much against my parent’s advice I would dress impractically for the weather and head out into the night where, after a couple of drinks, I would be capable of partying with the best of them. As I seemed to survive this approach to minor illness I decided that how I felt and responded was in my hands. If it was a struggle to get out of bed then I would accept that I required recovery time. Otherwise, bugs could be ignored and life went on.

Once I became a mother illness became a serious inconvenience. Young children will always need to be looked after, and I had no choice but to get up and get on with things throughout their babyhood and young childhood. Even on those thankfully rare occasions when we all came down with some bug at the same time I would have to get myself up to do the necessary bed changing, cleaning and assessing for seriousness that is needed when a child is ill. Once again I learnt that, most of the time, I could take control and keep going when I had to.

Now that my children are older it is easier to do less when I feel under the weather but old habits dies hard and I do not expect to be treated differently. Not so many jobs get done and I have not been going out and about in my usual way but I do not expect special treatment. I had to take to my bed one evening so my husband was aware that I felt unwell and kindly offered to do a child taxi run that I should have taken on to allow me to rest (school arranges 2am meet times for certain trips which play havoc with that night’s sleep). I have done my best to carry on as normal.

I wonder at times how my children will cope with minor illness when they are older. There have been times when a cold or bug has been doing the rounds at school and they have told me that half the class is absent. I do not allow them to miss school unless they appear incapable of getting there. I do not wish to raise them to think that staying home is acceptable for minor ailments. Employers will not be impressed with an employee who stays home with a hurty tummy or a few sniiffles. I wonder if my lack of sympathy compared to other mothers will result in them giving their families the indulgent care that they may feel they were never offered. Given the comments they make about their peers who regularly miss lessons I suspect not.

I am now more or less recovered apart from a continued lack of energy. I find even this suspect. If I really had to get up and go then I could probably manage it. As I have a busy week ahead I cannot allow myself too much rest. I do not wish to spoil occasions that have been eagerly anticipated by moaning about not feeling very well. I shall be giving myself a taste of my own medicine and telling myself to get up and get on with it. How fortunate I am that I have yet to cope with serious illness. Good health for ourselves and our loved ones is amongst life’s most valuable commodities.

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Staying healthy

I have a friend who believes that those who can afford to have a duty to buy the best quality meat and organic vegetables that they can find to encourage production of these types of food stuffs. This same friend takes the most varied cocktail of drugs of anyone I know in an attempt to keep herself as healthy as possible. She has many health issues and spends a great amount of her time dealing with these. She and I do not see eye to eye on many of her theories around consumption and it’s effects on the human body.

I think that our bodies are amazing. To survive we must eat and breath yet, in our modern world, both our food and our air are polluted. Thankfully we have inbuilt systems for detoxification and we seem to be able to cope with the small quantities of poison that we consume or inhale. We can assist this process by exercising regularly and by keeping our bodies well hydrated. Beyond this, a bit of common sense in what we consume seems to be enough to keep most people in a state of reasonable health.

I am not a good cook. I don’t enjoy preparing food and the meals that I produce tend to be fairly bland. This is partly down to my lack of confidence and skill in this area, and partly down to the varied tastes of my family which limits what we can eat. One of my sons likes meat and strong flavours, dislikes a wide range of vegetables, and gets bored being fed the same thing too often; my other son dislikes strong flavours and likes to know what he is eating so is often unwilling to try anything new; my daughter dislikes fish, meat, certain vegetables and salad. Trying to please everyone is a challenge as I am not willing to produce different meals at one sitting.

I use a lot of fresh ingredients and cook mainly from scratch. I do use some jars of sauce for flavour and a few of my daughters vegetarian alternatives come from a frozen packet, but most of what we eat contains only basic, recognisable foodstuffs that I have chosen and added. I do not concern myself with brands unless there is a notable difference in taste. As much of the food is mixed up together in the cooking anyway, I buy what is on offer.

The recent horse meat scandal did not disturb me too much as horse meat is probably better for us than much of the offal that goes into food from other animals. It is always a concern to hear that creatures reared for consumption are fed a variety of chemicals to promote easy health and fast weight gain, but the chemical fertilizers and sprays that promote growth in vegetables are already in the human food chain through animal feedstuffs. We are told that organic vegetables are no better for our health than the ordinary, mass produced variety and that vegetarian alternatives to meat are as full of flavourings and additives as a cheap burger or sausage. I do not dispute that these things are bad for us, only that we have to eat something and the alternatives may not actually be that much better.

What we can do if we wish to stay healthy is to exercise more. Physical exercise will make our vital organs function more efficiently, speed up digestion and help our bodies to flush the harmful chemicals out. My children may not appreciate that I send them to school on the bus rather than  driving them, which would be much cheaper, but the required walk to the bus stop and then on to school and back will help to keep them healthy (complaints about sore backs due to heavy bags of books notwithstanding).

I am fascinated by the scientific studies that have found links between what we think about our health and how healthy we are. In certain situations, participants in studies have been given placebos but told it is a curing drug and have subsequently been cured. It is obvious that not all illness can be cured in this way, but I believe it shows that attitude is vital for good health. There are times when we are ill and our bodies tell us that we need to rest; allowing a time of rest and recovery is sensible and important. However, I also believe that we can think ourselves more ill than we are. There seem to be a lot of people who, for no apparent reason, seem to come down with every bug and virus going. There are others who manage to avoid most minor illnesses or who can just keep going through the sniffles and aches. I cannot put myself inside anyone else’s head to know how they feel, but I do wonder if some are more prone to illness than others or if they just believe that they are less healthy.

I have never been one to use the mass of antiseptic sprays and wipes that are promoted for hygiene in the home apart from in the bathrooms. I think this worries my friend. She disinfects surfaces with fervour, replaces scratched items which may harbour bacteria and does all in her power to keep dirt from her home. I have a much more relaxed attitude to these things. A bit of hot water and soap plus a sensible attitude to hand washing does me. If we ingest a bit of dirt our immune systems will be strengthened. Bacteria can fight infection as well as cause it. I would rather not cover the surfaces of my kitchen with yet more chemicals.

I realise that it is easy for me to have a fairly laissez faire attitude to food and hygiene when I have the good fortune to have a robust and healthy family. Good health should never be taken for granted. Time spent working to maintain it may not always be fun, but is a worthwhile investment. I should probably also invest a bit more time in improving my cooking skills.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid, from the Harvard S...

In need of a good sleep

Sleeping all the way through the night and then waking feeling rested is becoming a rarity. There are small things that I could do to help myself, but as often as not there seems to be no obvious reason why I am losing my ability to sleep well. It could be my age or my dietary habits, it could be disturbances from other family members or concerns running through my head. Whatever the reason, I am awake in the wee small hours too often. I cannot remember when I last enjoyed the recommended eight hours of sleep we are told that we require each night to maintain good health.

Sleep deprivation is one of the hardest challenges that new parents must face. Despite it being a common issue, there is rarely a great deal of sympathy from those who have been through it before. It is regarded as inevitable, just something to be got through. There is an ‘I coped and so must you’ attitude that can leave the new parent, already exhausted and unable to think clearly, feeling that they are failing if they do not carry on with some semblance of normality however wretched they feel. Sleep deprivation is a recognised method of torture yet those who suffer from it are expected to put up and shut up. It can exacerbate one’s susceptibility to a wide range of debilitating illnesses yet society will not generally take seriously the way a sufferer truly feels.

My elderly mother has complained of insomnia for many years. She has followed numerous suggestions in her quest for a good night’s sleep but still finds herself wide awake in the small hours of the morning unable to attain the rest she craves. As I grow older I hear many tales of woe from friends who are suffering from this complaint. It is so frustrating to lie in bed feeling tired yet be unable to sleep.┬áLifestyle choices, medication and stress have all been suggested as causes but these offer no real solution other than to make us feel that an inability to provide our bodies with healthful rest is somehow our fault. Whilst recognising that there is much that can be done to alleviate the problem, these factors do not always explain the whole story.

I am not an expert in anthropology but find it interesting when modern habits can be recognised in studies of our ancestors. Looking back at the role of the elderly in tribes I note that they were often tasked with night time guard duties. Their natural sleep patterns enabled them to sleep early then keep watch through the rest of the night. Napping periodically in the day allowed them to attain the rest they needed. I have never been able to sleep during the day, even when my children were babies, and can feel quite annoyed when my husband dozes off on the sofa after a big lunch at the weekend. Perhaps I should be more accepting of what may be a natural requirement as he ages. Perhaps I should be listening to my body and simply allowing myself a time of wakefulness at what seems like a most antisocial hour of the morning.

There are many avenues that I can explore in an attempt to combat my current sleep problems and I am hopeful that I can help myself to feel better by making some sensible choices to attain a few good nights of sleep. I suspect though that this issue is not one that is going to go away completely. Just as my eyesight is deteriorating and my joints ache for longer after exercise, I suspect that I will be more prone to night time wakefulness as I grow older. I am not ready to give in to the afternoon nap though. Not yet.

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