Monday, August 26, 2013

The fun of growing older

I've had trouble getting sufficient sleep for many years.  From what I gather, this is a problem for women more often than men, at least the women I've talked to, and usually women who are middle-aged and older.  Cliff certainly has no trouble getting his rest.  I tend to go right to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but sometime after midnight I'll wake up and have problems going back to sleep.  
I keep over-the-counter sleep aid pills around.  Sometimes those seem to help, other times not.  Whether they help me sleep on a particular night or not, I wake up groggy from them the next morning.  Plus, I don't like to take them more than a couple of times a week.  
Last week I was in the pharmacy section at Costco picking up some fish oil tablets (supposed to be good for the heart) and passed bottles of melatonin tablets on display.  I remember taking those pills years ago; but for the life of me I can't remember how well they worked.  If they worked, why did I stop taking them?  Maybe I started sleeping OK without them.  The stuff must have helped, because I remember telling others about it.  You can read about it HERE, on  That seems to be a fairly trustworthy medical site.  
I have taken a pill at bedtime on each of the last two nights, and have definitely slept better.  I still wake up two or three times, but I go right back to sleep.  Maybe it's just a coincidence.  If you are thinking about trying it, be sure and go to the link I shared above and click on the tabs for "side effects" and "interactions".  Or if you've had experience with melatonin, give me your feedback.  

It's been over two years since I got a knee replacement on my left knee, and I haven't said a lot about it, so here goes:  If I had it to do over again, I probably would not have the operation.  Why?  Because the left knee aches just as much as the right under most circumstances.  When riding for long periods in the car, for instance, or when I spend lots of time standing in one spot.  The surgical knee does not "catch" any more, and my other one does.  Other than that, I can't see a big difference in how my knees feel.  Don't get me wrong, I don't spend a lot of time regretting my decision.  I get by fine.  Cliff and I go for our walk every day.  As long as I am at home, barefoot, I seldom have pain in either knee.  When I do, Tylenol or aspirin work wonders.  For some reason, wearing shoes makes my knees hurt.  Both knees.  Equally.  Most people I've spoken with are quite happy with their knee replacements, saying the pain is totally gone.  And then there's my cousin, who had the surgery shortly before I had mine: He has more pain since the procedure than he had before.  His knee hurts all the time.  
I don't intend to have my other knee done, no matter what.  
Knee replacements aside, did you ever people-watch at Walmart (or anyplace, really) and watch older people get out of their cars?  They all walk funny until they've taken a few steps.  Both Cliff and I do this, and laugh at ourselves as we limp along.  



I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I am the opposite of you as far as wearing shoes goes. I feel better when I have them on rather than barefoot. Still it is getting harder and harder to find comfortable shoes. I've heard mixed reviews on knee replacements too and don't think I'd try it out. I'm glad that you can still do so much anyway. I take aspirin for my woes and so far it is all I need. Thankfully I never have any problem sleeping and very often have a nap during the day too. That is the fun part of growing older for me.

Paula said...

Yep lack of sleep is for sure a joy of being a woman growing older. I sleep in shifts. In between I do laundry, read, pick up and put things away. I too don't like to take much or very often for the problem lest it become a bigger problem.

Becky said...

We give Tyler melatonin, especially during the school year. He has a terrible time sleeping. He never seems to go into deep restful sleep without it. We wakes constantly. Talks and even walks in his sleep. That stuff is a miracle for us. With it, he often sleeps right through the night. It has helped his moods and last year was a help to improve his grades. I had to push a little to get the husband to give it a shot. Pills of any kind with his kids make him very nervous. But this stuff is all natural. Our bodies make the stuff but some people just don't have enough. We do take breaks with it periodically so the effectiveness doesn't wear off. Plus we have a lower dose and a higher one for nights where sleep is VERY important (like before a big test.)

Forty Pound Sack said...

melatonin has helped me from time to time, but seems not to work for me if my inability to sleep is caused by stress. Something else that works for me, consistently, is tart cherry juice. It's crazy expensive but it lasts a long time, and it works better. Plus, no chemicals.

Rita Mosquita said...

There is nothing I enjoy more than a good nights sleep. When I went through pre-mature menopause 23 years ago at the age of 38 (TMI?), one of my symptoms was waking up about 1 in the morning or so and then having difficulty going back to sleep. Someone suggested to me to drink decaf coffee instead of regular. It make a huge difference for me. Also, if I eat chocolate at any time in the day, it too will cause me to not sleep as well.

What helps me to sleep better is to drink a cup of warmed milk with a little honey in it closer to bed time. If I can't sleep, I get up and make some. I also take some calcium in the evening.

I have melatonin and have tried it here and there, but it never really made a noticeable difference in my sleep at night.

Good luck!

Shell said...

I use Melatonin and in extreme cases, Xanax to keep my sleep on schedule. My reasons are likely very different from yours, I spent many years traveling all over the globe and living in noisy hotels. Restful sleep without some sort of chemical assistance was impossible. I also sleep walk, which is a barrel of laughs when you wake up in the lobby of a 5 star hotel in a nightgown (I started sleeping in light sweats and men's t-shirts).

Since Rita mentioned menopause, I wonder if that's part of it. I'm 44 and have had a partial hysterectomy, but my sleep disorders started in my 20's. That's when my cycles got really weird as well. Some months I could set a watch by it, others were anyone's guess. The catalyst for the hysterectomy was a cycle that lasted for 17 weeks. My girl parts tried to kill me, so they got fired! I was anemic, I'd lost 30 lbs., and my thyroid was a mess as well. That is one surgery I'd do again in a heartbeat.

I'm so sorry you are having trouble with your knees. My mom had both hips replaced a number of years ago and I was amazed that she was home within 4 days for each surgery. I see knee replacement in my future due to Rheumatic Fever damaging my knees as a kid. I'm certain that cute shoes don't help that pain, but as long as I can still walk, I'll be sportin' the high heels. :)


Your experience and other people's I know is why I'm not having my knees done, period.

Leilani Lee said...

The last time we drove to California, we stopped often, but even so, every time we got out of the car it took more than a few steps for us to be able to straighten up and walk correctly. Ditto sleep problems. I take melatonin every night, not sure if it helps or not. Sometimes I take two of the generic benadryl. I also have a Rx for the generic for Xanax, which I was given when our son was dying, and it works very well as a sleep aid -- drowsy is one of the side effects. But I don't take it every night because I want it to keep working when I really need it. Totally leery of the "Ambien" and "Lunesta" drugs because of horror stories of people not really waking up and getting into accidents, etc. A good night is when I can sleep straight through until 4 am. Not sure what the answer is; perhaps sleep apnea and we don't know it. I dunno. Sorry the knees aren't doing so well.

Angela said...

I used Estroven (or something like that) for a while. It was specific for nighttime and had melatonin as well as calcium in it. I really think it helped me sleep much better.

Xavier Onassis said...

I use melatonin all the time and love it.

It also takes me a few steps when I get out of the car to walk normally.

Margaret said...

My late husband was a big believer in melatonin. It's more natural than other sleep aids. I'm hoping my knees hold out because you are not the only one I know who regrets (or tells horror stories) about the operations.