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Mid-Life: Sleep is like Sex – You Have to Make it a Priority

sleeping lady



It has become a very, sexy, and alluring idea.

Admittedly, I have become too busy to fall asleep with ease. I don’t find slumber as easily as I find the perfect shade for my first pedicure of autumn or the words to change a dull passage to something memorable. Usually it’s exhaustion or mother’s little helper that guides me to sleep these days.

I’m a lover of life.  A funeral director convinced that the only way to live life is to L I V E it. Full strength, embracing everything I love with abandon, and enthusiasm. My to-do piles are a little overwhelming though, and yesterday, as I pushed my chair away from my keyboard and succumbed to the warm, sunlit cushions on my couch, a strange new reality came over me.

I take on too much. What?!

I have two desks. One filled with research for novels. One I use as command central for household concerns, travel itineraries, family gathering menus and activity planning (yes, I’m very Type A, don’t judge me). I have Christmas gift making headquarters set up in the basement next to the shelves of preserves that I fussed with all summer long. My bed is upstairs, unmade, with a pile of books, ear plugs, sleep masks, and lavender linen spray beside it.  Somethin’s gotta give.

Sleep has fallen somewhere behind my piles of fabric for homemade Christmas gifts, the books piled up for ‘research’ (and count toward my 2019 reading goal which I’ve increased by 50%), the last edit of novel number two, and the outline of novel number three. Although sleep may definitely be hiding behind the piles of jars that I have filled and have yet to fill with delights of the harvest. It could also be somewhere in the pages of itineraries for the last few trips of 2019, wedged between schedules to obtain hard-to-get dinner reservations in NYC, the best cenotes near Tulum and autumn pumpkin festivals in the Ottawa valley.

Yesterday before my weekly weigh in I drank two glasses of wine and ate trail mix topped with cool whip. What can I say, I was feeling overwhelmed. How could I not question my priorities in that moment of sweet, crunchy, wine soaked loveliness? I haven’t lost a pound in 6 months. Thanks Sonoma Valley, with a special mention to anxiety. Thank you very much.

This weekend was a rare weekend at home. Even more rare, I was able to sleep in, undisturbed two mornings in a row. I awoke refreshed and relaxed with no real agenda. It was like old times.

After soothing my scale time with a healthy dinner and one more glass of wine, I came home, packed up my editing, sorted through a pile of books to be read on my upcoming getaways, meal prepped and climbed back on the couch with re-runs of 90’s sitcoms and did some critical thinking about what to do next – how on earth to accomplish everything I had set out to do.  Not the least of which is reporting to meeting number two with my writing accountability group next Tuesday after working what we fondly refer to in the business as, “Hell Weekend”.  I have half of a damn novel to edit between now and then. Gulp…

By 8:30pm I was in the bath, covered to the chin with bubbles, sipping herbal tea, and letting my body feel tired.  I slipped my freshly washed body between the  sheets, and read until my eyes felt tired. I slept. For hours and hours uninterrupted. And I woke feeling refreshed – on a work day no less!

A year ago my immune system took a holiday, and I was sick for months. For two months I was barely able to function.  This year after rounds of tests, I was asked; are you under any stress, has your sleep been disrupted? Of course the answer was yes and yes.  I have lost a significant amount of vision due to stress and lack of sleep, and goodness only knows if it’s coming back without some kind of alien probe into my eyeball. My body is screaming for rest.

As I snuggled under the covers in the peace and quiet of morning, I reflected on how much I put on my own plate to do. It’s all good stuff, but the reality is, I only have so much time to do it in, and the time I spend relaxing is just as important as the time I spend rushing through everything.

My hobbies are too joyful to rush through. Sleep allows me to slow down, savour every moment and bring my best to each interaction, whether it’s with colleagues, family, or the characters in my book.

Sleep, much like sex at this age is something that we can often let slide down the list of priorities. After a weekend of getting some (sleep)  I’m going to make it a priority again.

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Flake? I’ll Be The Judge of That.


I’m typing this in a dark corner of the living room, having been stirred to wakefulness again by a 2018 article about pairing champagne (one of my faves) with french fries. Yummmmm! This my friends, is what keeps me up at night.

After having slipped my love a valium, and being irritated from sleepiness to being wide awake by his snoring, I got up to find some ear plugs. Which took me to the living room, so I could  record notes for a to-do list tomorrow. You know, follow up on doctor’s appointments, what I need to buy at Ikea, reserving my space at yoga classes, and how I’m going to rearrange the spare room and my writing area.  Inevitably I checked my phone, and voila….the social media vortex had me.

Left wing aside here…he knew he was taking the Valium. It’s like an unspoken compromise. Silently it says, “Yes, I will shut up so we no longer have to engage today.”

Tapping out my to do list for tomorrow kinda worked up an appetite, or maybe it was just the  knowledge that there was a Costco sized bag of fully-loaded-nacho-flavoured Doritos in the cupboard. And a mini Flake bar (another personal favourite, this time in the chocolate bar category). All tempting leftovers from when the kiddo was home. Nachos and a piece of butter bread…and the flake. Oh, sweet, sweet, middle of the night carb cravings, have you not had enough of me? Apparently not.

This morning during  CBC interview, it was noted that people with bad short-term memories are actually smarter, because somehow this lack of short term memory makes more room to learn more things and improve long-term memory. My short term memory is absolute shit.

This little radio spot vindicated me. I am not a flake. I am a genius. According to a childhood assessment, I actually am. But that’s a story for another time.

giphy-3It is during these wee hours of the morning when my mind is whirring and I’m trying to capture my lists and ideas that I am at my most creative. I have the most energy for things that really excite me at a soul level (and I’m not talking about the Doritos).  As I take a giant swig of what I thought was iced tea (I’m colour blind – turns out it was some kind of blue jungle juice leftover from the kiddo today), I begin to wonder if I’m the only woman who does this? This middle of the night, burning the candle at both ends life?

I wonder, and every once in a while, I get an answer back from out of the still, middle-of-the-night darkness. It usually comes in the form of a message, or text or a few beautiful lines of poetry. Tonight it was a message from an author whom I admire for more than just their writing style. I admire what they stand for. These are the signs that reassure me I am not alone in my hope, my dreaming, and my creative genius.

Costo. Doritos. Leftover something-juice.  It works. Oh,and so does the valium.

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Sleepless Beauty

sleeping ladyWhat keeps a gal busy enough to stay away from her favourite venting place?

Summer – of course!

….and a complete lack of quality sleep.

I’ve been poked, prodded, and misdiagnosed, but what good quality of life depends on for me (and likely you too) is a good sleep.

Having moved in with the love of my life less than a year ago, my dream-domain has been adjusted to his majesties pleasures. Don’t worry friends, I’m not going to tell you about his sexual preferences, I’m totally focused on what he needs to sleep. Apparently it’s piles of clothes laid out like a landmine on the floor, lots of light, and enough silence so that when he snores, the entire universe shakes. And me. Yes, he loves to snuggle right up to me.

Oh, lucky ducky.

So when I brought home news of my new sleep plan, facilitated by a young physician who had recently attended a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) sleep credit class; you want to make your bedroom a place you can’t wait to go, be sure it’s dark, no television, no phones –  my bedroom-bestie responded with; “Pft! She’s wrong. You sleep just fine.”

Ah…no. You sleep just fine.


You know what I’m talking about ladies. After you do the drudge-work of housekeeping until the moment you’re ready to drop from exhaustion, Mr. Snorey-McSnorerson keeps you awake so you wander around the house until exhaustion makes you drop on the spot at about 2:30am or, when you’re blissfully asleep and Casanova keeps poking you with his love-baton.

The only reason you should wake me up when I’m sleeping is if my life is in danger, or you can romance me without much participation from me. Either get on with it or put your pistol away. From now on I”m bringing a lawnmower and a stick to bed. The lawnmower to counteract the snoring, and the stick to poke him with all night long when I’m feeling amorous.

Ladies and gents, if you, like myself, are suffering from severe sleep deprivation, do make some changes. I hope that your partner (if you have one) is more empathetic to creating a mutually comfortable space to rest than mine is.

The suggestions I was given are these;

Create a space where you love to go, instead of dreading spending hours in bed worried about not sleeping.

No goal-oriented tasks for an hour before bedtime.

Make the room dark.

Turn of all electronics or better yet, remove them from the room – esepcially the little lights that shine brightly one them.

Get a white noise machine.

Turn the light off on your alarm clock.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you sweet dreams. xo

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It’s Difficult Loving a Snoreman

duct tapeI woke up this morning with the bloody evidence of a restless sleep. In my ear  no less. From trying to block the loud sleep-purr of my man.

For two years ear plugs have kept me from two things: chronic sleep deprivation, and killing my partner in his sleep.

For years I lived alone.

Only in retrospect have I discovered that it was ‘blissfully’ alone.

HA-ha! HA-ha-HA-ha-HA!

Just in case you couldn’t tell, that is the delirious, sleep-deprived laughter of a woman who now shares her bed with a chronic snorer. A snorer supreme. A snorosaurus. A snorenado if you will.

Every night it’s snormagedon. And I’m sooooooo t i r e d.

This morning, a contractor needed to get into the building where I worked before we opened, so since I was awake all night anyway, I went in early to unlock the doors.  I rolled out of my car yawning at the same time as the contractor pulled up.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, finishing up a big, wide-mouthed yawn, “I”m not much of a morning person and the love of my life snores like a bulldozer.”

“So do I, ” he said, and then he laughed.

He laughed.  Asshole.

I had the same response from the lady who served me at the liquor store tonight. It was my one and only stop on my way home from work. The only thing I wanted was a big bowl of my auntie’s recipe for 3 in 1,  an intravenous feed of red wine, and a full-bellied-red-wine-induced-nap in front of the fireplace.

And that’s exactly what I had.

Until my well-rested horror-snorer came barging through the door. He was full of energy from having a full night of sleep.

Just to be clear to all of the snorers out there-we hate you.

You see, until now, I thought I had a solution. I had adopted the wise sleep habit of my bestie – using earplugs. Trust me, once you start wearing your long nightie to bed with socks, the ear plugs come next. The good news is when you reach this stage, you have simply come into your own power. You are silently creating your very own space. Everything about you, including your self-induced hearing impairment does not invite anyone into your space, not even subliminally. Your entire vibe is fuck-off-and-let-me-sleep. The flannel, the socks and the construction orange ear-plugs are sleepy-time-thug-gear.

Until you wake up with a bloody ear from wearing ear plugs too often.

The only solution I can come up with right now is to learn how to accessorize an orange jumpsuit.

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Rocking the Sleep Lab

I’m coming to you this morning straight off a 10 hour visit to the sleep lab and my morning run.

Of  course this would be the only morning ever that there was a hot guy using the circuit equipment on the path by lake where I run.You see, as luck would have it, today I didn’t wear my cute pink and white ball cap to hide my sexy bed head.  Because of my soiree a la sleep lab, I skipped the hat in favour of a headband so I didn’t get that sticky uber-icky gel that was left in my hair on my cute little cap. I also have a burned patch of skin by my left eye,which should heal up in time for my child’s wedding. My child is 12.

Regardless of thinking that OHIP approval for sleep tests was approved over one too many bourbons and a greasy padded handshake in a dark hotel lounge, I conceeded to going at my doctor’s third request.  I was so prepared for my sleep test. I was going to rock the sleep lab. I was going to prove that this was all bunk. I had been up since 8am, peeled, chopped and preserved almost 150lbs of tomatoes.  I ate a healthy dinner of fish and green beans.  My timing was fabulous. I rolled into the parking lot just five minutes before last beddy-bye call with my own orthopaedic pillow, cool jammies and my bed time cup of tea (thank you to the Tim Horton’s that I found on my way to the lab). Hey, parking spot #108. Eight is my lucky number. “Hmm. A good omen.This is going to be a great night”, I thought to myself.

You see, when I’m anxious I can’t fall asleep. I can’t stay asleep, and my mind whirrs with what if’s; what’s my bank balance, did I lock the door, does the cat have water, did I close the bird-cage, did I lock the car…..My goal was to keep tonight pretty low-key. I had worked all day to physically tire myself out, and it was time to trick my girl-brain into being calm, in the moment, and relaxed.

A lovely attendant met me at the door and escorted me to my room. Bed 5. Warm, granny like wallpapered walls and beige bedding were waiting for me. I filled out a two page form, and then settled in with my much beloved Globe and Mail. Relaxing in my jammies, I peeled the lid thingy back off of the top of my tea and took a big sip. Coffee?! COFFEE?! Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. Oh ebony elixir of  boundless energy, tonight was not your night to appear in my boudoir. Tonight I needed to soothe myself to sleep with tea.

Rocking the Sleep Lab; Take Two – I settled in with my much beloved Globe and Mail. As always, I started with the Style Section and then moved on to Arts, and Travel. I pulled the footstool over. Wait, that wasn’t a footstool. It was a step used for short(er) people to get up onto the examination bed. Waaaait a minute here. Upon closer inspection, this was an examination room that moonlights as a sleep room. Ew! What kind of germs are in here? Ick.

I padded to the kitchen in my slippers, hoping there would be some tea and a man from the cover of a romance novel in there. There was tea. Good enough. I’ll take that. As I waited for the kettle to boil, I read the signs on the fridge. “Do Not Use – For Office Use Only”, “How to Properly Pack Vaccines”, “Narcolepsy Hotline”, what? My mind flashed back to the intern I knew who claimed he had narcolepsy after repeatedly falling asleep while working.

Narcolepsy? Holy mackerel, the people in here could have real sleep issues. I think I’m ok, and kind of humouring my family physician by doing this, but what if I was in here with a bunch of sleepwalkers, sleepsexomaniacs and people with night terrors? Crap. None of these fancy shmancy doors locked. Maybe I’d better ask for earplugs. Hell, maybe I’d better take some of the jelly-lube looking stuff off the carts in the hallway just in case Mr. Wonderful Sleep Sex Offender wanders in during the night. This might be slightly more entertaining than I had anticipated.

 Uneasy about sleeping in an unlocked room with other people’s germs and potential weirdos roaming the halls, I decided to go to the washroom and get ready for bed. My girl brain was anything but mellow.

As I brushed my teeth I heard my Romeo in the next bathroom clearing the phlegm from his throat and blowing his nose like a war cry.  I guess tonight wasn’t going to be my magical-unexpectedly-meeting-the-man-of-my-dreams-night. Not unless I liked short fat men with mucus. Here’s a tip fellas;when you’re in a public space keep the phlegm clearing and nose honking on the down-low. Not that my fuzzy pink slippers and surgical green jammies were going to drive any man to the edge of desire.

Walking back to my room through the dimly lit hallway, I passed a few stainless steel carts with wires and tape and all kinds of goopy gels and lotions set out.  That’s when it dawned on me that I forgot to tell them I’m allergic to surgical adhesives (This morning the left side of my face looks like I fell on the stove because of that lovely, oh-so-gentle-adhesive). My little lab lady wired me up. A series of alcohol wipes, exfoliating the area where the electrode attached, drying the area, and attaching an electrode with some goop and a large piece of tape. 18 in total. 

They’re so smart. They dude you up with the wires, and let you carry on reading or whatever you’re doing, and say they’ll be back in half an hour “to put you to bed”. Heck, I haven’t been put to bed since I was a kid. This was kinda nice being looked after so thoughtfully.

Half an hour later she came back with more wires and straps. Don’t get kinky on me here, it was nothing  that exciting. Two breathing things that cut off your breathing (one at the chest, and one at the waist), and a lovely tube with nasal canulas to measure your intake of air. How the hell can they get an accurate reading of  intake of O2 when your nasal passages are jammed with plastic? After making me thoroughly uncomfortable, I was “put to bed”, and oh yes ma’am, one other thing, let me tie this heart rate monitor to your finger.

Besides the wires and tape all over my body and in my hair, I was coping with wearing underwear and pants. That alone can keep me up all night. Fabulous. I was so relaxed it’s just impossible to describe. What with all of these wires and things to strangle yourself with during the night, how could a person not sleep well in this environment? This had to be epitome of evidence-based research and testing. There are a lot of bank accounts getting morbidly obese from this.

True to form, about two hours after going to bed, I woke up. I had to get up, but first I had to ring the bell and wait to be unplugged. I now knew what it would feel like when I was too old to get out of bed myself. I’ll definitely need diapers.

This morning, I awoke to a gentle voice saying, “Good morning ma’am, are you awake?”.

Who knows what will come of this.  Definitely a sell job on some sleep contraption, but maybe I can hope for a little more? Maybe a better sleep, and more energy throughout the day? Maybe a more bubbly and energetic me? Maybe it will all boil down to embracing the miserable bitch that I can be, and finding a man who can not only tolerate it, but think it’s charming? Maybe.