I don’t think of myself as old, though I do give concession to a bit of bodily aging in my early stages of retirement.  But I was shaken by an article I read last week titled “Sacrificing sleep for a night out”.  When I read it, I thought, wow, I am starting to think like that!  The author discusses the conscious decision not to go out for an evening of entertainment because it might interrupt her sleep routine.

In this blog, I have previously written about deteriorating sleep patterns as we age.  I have definitely found that I struggle with getting sufficient deep sleep and have been reading far and wide and listening to podcasts on the subject.  I don’t have the complete solution yet, as my sleep still goes through good and bad phases, but I have definitely discovered that if I wind down slowly to bedtime, and I do not eat a large evening meal, I do sleep better.

So here comes the rub with going out.  Concerts, theatre, large gatherings of people all stimulate the brain.  They usually involve bright lights, which inhibit the production of melatonin, and the social interaction leaves my brain too stimulated to fall into a deep sleep.  For me, a large meal with protein and fat means that my poor liver is working overtime at 2 in the morning and generating more heat than I can possibly sleep through.  Then, of course, alcohol is also a big sleep disrupter.

People are quick to tell me that I go to bed too early, if I went to bed later, I would sleep later.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way.  Regardless of the time my head hits the pillow I still wake up sometime between 4 and 5 and I do experience my deepest sleep before midnight.  On a bad night, I wait for the radio presenter who comes on at 4, on a good morning I either manage to fall back to sleep between 4 and 5 or on a glorious morning I wake at 5.30.  The time that I go to bed does not affect my waking, except if I have a heavy meal, I am usually reading around 2 am.

See where I am going?  For a good night of deep sleep, I prefer to stay at home.  But that makes for a very dull life, a huge social dilemma, and a very solitary existence as I live on my own.  I have found a few of my friends are happy to meet for an early meal, and it is usually possible to stick with salad (particularly in summer).  But, I have a sweet tooth and last week the salad was really crying out to be rounded off with a dessert!

One possibility is to direct my social gatherings towards the morning.  I love going out for breakfast or lunch, and now that I am semi-retired it is possible to meet my retired friends in the morning.  But not all my friends are retired!

So, what is the solution?   Do any of you have a similar problem?  If so, how do you get around it?

You can read the full article that inspired this blog, on:  https://www.nextavenue.org/sacrificing-sleep-for-a-night-out/

I look forward to your feedback,