Recently I made a vow to myself that I would stop telling people how old I am. I had two reasons for doing this— first, I no longer get the reaction of “You don’t look a day over 50,” and second, I feel like I might be using this age thing in order to be coddled and cosseted, and a strong female needs to be as independent as possible.
I find it hard to stick to this vow because my age and all that goes with it are connected to nearly everything I do.
And that includes sleep.
Sleep and I have never had a great relationship. From the earliest I can remember, I have been a night owl — a hard core night owl.
By the time I learned to read, I was hiding a flash light under the covers and reading while my parents thought I was dreaming of puppy dogs and teddy bears.
After I became a teenager, I still continued reading half the night away instead of getting the eight hours of slumber recommended by the medical world. I was young and strong and had never heard the words “sleep deprivation.”
Then I became a wife and a mother and my sleep pattern changed drastically. I desperately slept anytime and anywhere I could grab enough time to close my eyes. Unfortunately, my sweet babies shared my former habit of sleeping very little during the night.
After my kids were grown, I had no problems getting a good night’s sleep, but since I turned 80, my sleep has taken another turn and evidently, according to the experts, I’m doing it all wrong.
I sleep with a lamp switched on and the TV is playing all night long. I have
switched my bed for a recliner chair, and the blankets I loved to snuggle under when I lived in the mountains have been exchanged for a light weight velour afghan.
There’s a good reason I no longer sleep under a mountain of cover. In fact, there’s two of them — my feet.
I don’t mean aching feet. There’s no real pain involved, but there’s such a strong awareness of these appendages that it makes for an occasional sleepless night, which makes an old lady cranky and bleary-eyed the next morning.
Most of the time the feet will calm down about 30 minutes before the alarm clock buzzes in the morning, making it difficult to throw off the afghan and head to the kitchen for coffee.
I’m not the only one with restless feet that disturb my sleep. We’ve had discussions in the office about our nocturnal habits, and I have discovered that a few of the other ladies I work with do the same thing I do — sleep with their feet uncovered.
And most of them share another quirky trait I have developed. My shoulders must be completely covered up to and over the chin.
This gives the appearance of a green velour night-night cocoon with feet hanging out the bottom.
For some reason, when the sun comes up, the feet settle down and I can sleep like a baby.
So, be warned. On my days off, don’t ring my number before noon because this granny will be sawing some logs.