Some things get better with age

There are many cliches that can be rattled out here … red wine, aged cheese, single malt whisky (not that I’ve ever tasted that last one). But there are also other wonderful things which improve as they develop over time – like common sense, friendships and gardens. With all the good that comes with age and maturity, there are unfortunately a few things we perhaps get a little worse at.

One area in which I used to show a special aptitude, but which now seems to have escaped me, is in the land of sleep. I’ve never been a morning person, so for as long as I can remember I’ve been waging a daily battle with my alarm clock … a struggle which it inevitably wins (at least on week days). However when I did slumber, I was always able to sleep long and deep, drifting far away to a place of dreams and new discoveries. Recently though I’ve found that a satisfying rest only ever reluctantly comes my way, and when I do eventually float away I seem to be travelling far too lightly for my intended journey. Sleep now seems a far patchier and shallower affair.

Jones the cat really knows how to sleep

It’s somewhat ironic that at a time in my life when quality sleep would be appreciated more than ever, it seems that much harder to find. I think Charlotte Brontë may have said it best with her reflections on sleep, ‘a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow‘. Isn’t that just so true? I think feeling ‘ruffled’ is a perfect description (and so much nicer than simply saying I’m feeling ‘all over the place’).

As you all know I’ve been dwelling on many things of late, but I do hope my mind starts addressing these matters during the daylight hours, so that the nights can be left to me once more. How about you … are you a better snoozer now versus then? Or perhaps you can tell me whether single malt whisky is something worth experiencing?


  1. charmaine

    I like ‘ruffled’. I am going to add that to my vocab. Always a good sleeper and most of the time get a deep sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. I have quiet time before bed so my mind is calm. I read or stretch or just do something quiet has to be better that whisky!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Charmaine – ‘Ruffled’ is a wonderful word, I’m going to add it to my vocabulary too! (given that it offers such a perfect description, I wonder why it hasn’t occurred to me before?).

      Gosh, I’m jealous of your good, deep sleep abilities … I’ve managed to get a couple of decent sleeps recently, but it seems my dreams have become more vivid, so perhaps the sleep ends up not being as restful as it should?

      Reading definitely helps … and I might try and give that stretching a go (there’s something wonderful about a nice long stretch). xx

  2. Hayley Cafarella

    ooh, a ruffled mine, that is a fabulous description! I am constantly describing myself as scattered or “all over the place” but I’m so about to jump on the ruffled bandwagon… 🙂 x

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hayley – Haha, I think we’re all going to jump on the ruffled bandwagon! It’s a much nicer and clearer way of saying what we mean, isn’t it? 🙂

  3. Gabrielle Bryden

    Nothing much worse than not sleeping well – I’ve suffered from insomnia on and off over the years (and am also not a morning person) so have some idea how you feel. I went to a neurologist once (and even spent a night in a sleep laboratory) about my sleeping and he suggested some very heavy daily exercise (like ocean rowing!!!) – which I of course ignored. Too much coffee is an obvious reason for not sleeping well (especially coffee from coffee shops – which has about 3 times the caffeine of your instant stuff – but not as nice tasting) – I try to only drink coffee in the morning. Melatonin is a good natural therapy (can get tablets) that can help. A calm mind is good too – but hard to achieve. Hope you are sleeping better soon.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Oh I know, it’s so frustrating when you can’t get a good sleep (especially when you’re feeling really tired). I often find it’s my active mind that wants to keep me up and thinking about things.

      That idea of doing some heavy daily exercise makes absolute sense on paper … but something like ocean rowing?? Wow! Haha, no wonder you ignored that advice … I would have too! 🙂

      Coffee is one of those things that I try to be really careful about having too late in the day … I tend to just have one decent cup in the morning, and then go with something gentler later in the day … it’s incredible how much caffeine those ‘real’ cups of have!!

      I’ve never thought about trying melatonin … hmmm, that might be worth investigating if things don’t improve soon. My sleep has been a little better lately, but I think I’m always greedy for ‘more, more, more’. Ha! 😉

  4. Sandrine

    I hope you can enjoy your time with your pillow a little better soon.I know what you mean sometimes the mind won’t quiet down when it is time to do so.I find homeopathy very good, but I am an homeopathy big fan! 🙂
    Wishing you a nice and peaceful week my dear Tracey.
    PS: Thanks for your comments little one is back on track now!
    PPS: My comments would not work before???So I cross my fingres this time! 🙂
    Sandrine x

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sandrine – Sorry to hear your comments wouldn’t work earlier … happy to see they clearly have this time! 🙂
      I’ve caught up with a little more sleep time over this long weekend, so that’s been a bit of a bonus … if only I didn’t have to wake up early in the morning (I think I do my best sleep between about 4 and 7 in the morning.

      I know a lot of people swear by homeopathy too, so it seems I have lots of options to investigate.
      Thanks! 🙂

      PS. I’m glad to hear about your little one feeling better. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

  5. Sandrine

    Youpi!!!!!! 🙂

  6. Gracey

    I hope you find your rest soon…the worst time of year for me is August/September…the beginning of the school year…..I have to force myself to sleep…I usually end up counting….sometimes I’ll fall asleep with the tv on, as that distracts my brain…..

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gracey – Thanks so much … my sleep is improving, perhaps it was the start of a new season that was playing havoc with my restless / ruffled mind? I can imagine the start of the school year would make it a tricky sleep time for you … the TV is always a good option to distract the mind and hopefully find it a decent amount of rest.

  7. Chartreuse

    Great writing. And a beautiful blog presentation. I especially like your graphics: light, whimsical but still elegant. Look forward to reading more.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Chartreuse – Thanks so much for your kind words. While I can take credit for the writing and the photographs, I can’t take credit for the blog illustrations … they are the work of the talented Tabitha Emma. I do hope you visit again soon. 🙂

  8. bobbi

    I’ve been a morning person simce I was a kid, especially on sunday when there wasn’t school and I was excited at the idea of having all that time just for myself. Sometimes I suffer from insomnia and I have learned over time not to fight it: ignoring the problem sometime is the best way to solve it. I know when you’ll feel relaxed again you’ll have your good sleep back: Charlotte Bronte was so right. As for Whisky, it helps sleep…

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Bobbi – I’m always so jealous of morning people! While I can rarely drag myself out of bed early enough, I love the quiet and peace that comes with the morning … it’s a different sort of energy in the air. I’m sure it allows you to get so much more done in a day, like you gain yourself an extra few hours each day.

      I think I’m back onto a relatively good sleep cycle again (or perhaps it’s just the long weekend that I’ve been enjoying, which has offered an extra day of sleep catch-up?) … thanks for your wonderful thoughts Bobbi.

  9. Krystal/Village

    maybe the whiskey would help 🙂 i definitely have nights like that but thankfully not every night. i hope you get some rest soon. maybe try a good exercise during the day, maybe that will help too?

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – Haha, if all else fails I say try the alcoholic solution! 😉
      I think I’m doing better with my sleep now … but it does tend to ebb and flow a bit for me … you’re definitely right on that exercise front, I’ve been a bit slack on that front lately (it’s time to get back on track I think).

  10. Meagan

    A ruffled mind does make a restless pillow – that rings so true to me!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Meagan – It’s a great word, isn’t it? After all these years of experiencing a ‘ruffled’ mind, I’ve now found the perfect description for it! 🙂

  11. Andrew

    Hi Tracey,

    Hope you find the quality sleep soon. I remember back in the day when I would sleep 4 or 5 hours living a hectic life where I was always on the go and catch up a bit at the weekend or a night here and there. I guess everything felt so fresh and the fatique of situations, stress levels and age didn’t have as much impact.

    I used to have a notepad near me at night so I could jot down things on my mind and then try and switch off, knowing the notes would be there waiting and I could forget about tasks and relax. I also avoid caffeine and eating close to bed time and try and avoid tv near to sleep. There are so many ways to try and encourage being more relaxed before bed and helping sleep. I’ve got a lot of room for improvement as I’m not sleeping great at the moment either, but hope the tips help.

    I wish you the very best relaxed and deep sleep.

    All the best


    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Andrew – I think my sleep has slowly started to get back on track … it’s amazing how little sleep I used to be able to function on too … things are certainly different now. While I can get by on just a few hours from time to time, I certainly notice it the next day – everything becomes a real struggle!

      Thanks for your tips. I’ve started getting back into reading just before bed, as I find that helps calm my mind and yet also doesn’t tend to wake me up. I keep a notebook by the bed too (just in case I need to scribble something down). I hope you’ve been getting a better sleep by now … in any case, I’ll send you best wishes for a wonderful rest.
      Take care. 🙂

  12. Monica {bohemian twilight}

    hi there.

    just stumbled in…

    i’m a better sleeper now. i have fought sleep all my life, because sleep took up time that i thought could be spent on Other Things. i have learnt how amazing sleep is – how it doesn’t take away from but rather feeds everything else.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Monica – Well I’m very happy to see you ‘stumble’ by … thanks for the visit.
      I think that struggle with sleep you talk about is part of my problem too … while I love sleep, it feels a little like ‘wasted’ time when you think about all the fantastic things you could be doing with those precious hours. I think it’s just about finding the right balance, and it certainly sounds like you’ve come to a wonderful realisation about the power of a decent sleep. 🙂

  13. Mel

    OK, are you actually me? Perhaps I’m sleeping so restlessly because I’m sleep-blogging under my other name?! 😉

    My alarm clock is nasty and mean too 🙁 It always tells me it’s time to get up when my body and brain are both agreed that I need at least another hour in bed….. Hope you get your sleep cycle sorted, and hope I get mine ditto! xx

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Mel – Haha, we have been on similar wavelengths lately haven’t we? I do hope your restless sleep patterns are no longer so restless … mine are feeling a little better.

      Those alarm clocks are evil things … and I’m the same as you, whenever mine goes off I’m in firm agreement that all I need is an extra hour in bed (or at least another five minutes) … those snooze buttons can be evil too! 😉

      Fingers crossed you’ve been enjoying fantastic sleep lately.

  14. Camila F.

    My problem was never to wake up (I have a very healthy relationship with my alarm clock), but to fall asleep. I wanted to sleep, but simply couldn’t. It was hell. Thank god (and lots of chamomile tea) I don’t have this problem anymore!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Ah yes, the power of chamomile tea! I used to end my evening with chamomile tea, but seem to have fallen out of the habit in recent years … perhaps it’s time for me to try it once more. I’m envious of anyone who has a healthy relationship with their alarm clock. 😉

  15. Narnie

    I love the mornings. I wake up too early every day and I don’t mind at all. Trouble is, I then quite often sit down in the afternoon and whoop! I’m asleep. Even if it’s just ten minutes I seem to be able to get going with no problem again. I’m a six hours a night girl and I’m sure it does me no good whatsoever but there’s nothing nicer than watching the night when everything’s quiet and walking down to the coffee shop while their pastries are still warm. Yum.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kiersty – Oh really? You’re one of those cheerful early-morning-risers? Haha, that couldn’t be further from how I am … I tend to be a complete grump in the mornings (well at least until I get to have a cup of coffee, then I generally become bearable). Oh those afternoon naps catch the best of us out … I never seem to get the hang of them though, I think I tend to nap for too long … 10 minutes would be great – isn’t that called ‘power-napping’?

      Oh walking down to the coffee shop when the pastries are warm sounds pretty wonderful to me Kiersty, that’s a sleep habit I could get used to! 😉

  16. woolf

    ‘single malt’ sounds pretty delicious, i can only say i like whiskey, but i couldn’t tell one from the other, except good from bad perhaps? sleep. now there’s a thing. and it’s fickle. i love sleeping, and i don’t sleep enough. i am a morning kind of person, and sometimes i wake at 4, and just get up. that is because i LOVE the quietude of mornings! but this has put a little strain on my feeling exhausted rather than well rested. i hope the pattern just changes again, one day.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – Single malt does sound nice doesn’t it? I think liking whiskey sounds A-OK with me … I’ve never tried single malt or any other kind either, so you’re certainly two steps ahead of me. I hope that I would be able to tell the good from the bad too … that’s kind of how I am with wine – I know what I like and I know what I think tastes good. I’m not much of a ‘technical’ drinker.

      The quiet of a morning is a wonderful thing, I think that’s the only thing that I hate missing out on … I’m just so shocking with that whole ‘getting up early’ thing … I tend to come to life at night. It’s never good though when you’re left feeling exhausted by the sleep pattern you find yourself in. I hope your sleep pattern is more to your likely now.

  17. Jan

    Tracey I love that concept of a ruffled mind. I usually sleep like a log, I’m supposed to do some positive thinking before I go to sleep and I’m lucky if I do it for 10 nano seconds!! However when I am troubled (usually work related!) I sleep badly, I sleep lightly and do not wake up refreshed and I wake up often during the night.
    I know what you mean about being “all over the place”, I am somewhere where I don’t want to be work wise, I know what I need to do, but do you think that I can get myself motivated? My motivation comes in such flurries of work, work, work then oh I can’t be bothered. I really need “me” time and find it so very hard to have to work full time and then work on other stuff every minute of the day that isn’t work (even though I love it so much). Aggghhhh!
    So my sympathies, but life goes around in circles and one of my favourite sayings is “where I am is where I am supposed to be”, so we have to learn something from where we are and then we can move on.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Jan – I love that ‘ruffled mind’ description too … it’s beautifully put I think. Those feelings of being a bit here, there and everywhere can be really frustrating … especially when you know you need to get things done or make certain changes, but you just can’t quite make that happen.

      Everything does eventually work itself out in the way that it should, but that time in-between can be a bit of a challenge to get through, especially when sleep is impacted. You’re completely right, life does go in circles … you’ve just got to take the up with the down. 🙂

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