exhausted woman at night

Wine – Friend & Foe

My 20’s – Standard stuff. Fortunately I was young enough that my body could recover and I did no irreparable harm, which is frankly little more than a miracle of nature.

My 30’s – As a lot of us Mother’s know, a cheeky glass of wine in the evening or while cooking the dinner for adults, post graveyard shift of fish fingers and Petit Filous, is more a necessity than a treat. It establishes the boundary between kid time and our time and God knows, by the time the children were sorted, it was a wonder I wasn’t on pints of wine and not just a glass or two!

The guaranteed early starts put paid to binge drinking, and also the fear that a small person would wake in the night but I’d be too comatose to parent properly, stopped all heavy drinking – except for the rare occasions when they stayed at Nana & Grandad’s and then it was like a Malia meets Ayia Napa reunion!

Then came ‘beer fear’. The abject horror of having a hangover. I had it so bad that it started before I’d gone out or even had my first sip.

My 40’s – When I first realised I had issues with my sleep I thought it was random (it still can occur without warning) but it is usually in sync with my hormones, although my hormones were as erratic as a bag of mice on a trampoline so that didn’t really help me much either.

And to think that in my late 20s and 30s I knew my own body pretty well. I didn’t need to keep a menstrual diary, I could just tell that I was going to come on, almost to the hour. 

As you have probably already gathered, I am not medically trained and I am self-diagnosing here, but, let me tell you about Nocturnal Diabetes.

Alcohol. Sometimes I’m fine – mostly I’m not. Even one glass of wine can be too much. I go to sleep perfectly okay; not drunk, not even tipsy just a normal day and off to sleep I go. My usual time is 2.38am. I wake up ready for the day; wide awake and boiling hot. It’s like there is a mad scientist inside me making boiled sweets in test tubes, extracting the sugar from the alcohol and making those sweets old people used to have in the car; the dusty ones in a tin covered in icing sugar.

Once the sweet production is over, the anxiety kicks in. This is the stage where I worry about things that haven’t happened. Catastrophizing about scenarios that could but haven’t happened to the children, or the dog getting dog napped, or my parents being too old and leaving the gas on. If it’s a really bad night I have to do a hard re-start. I go downstairs, watch a couple of episodes of Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, have a cup of tea and re-try bed a little while later. On a milder night, a sleep story from Calm (app store) can do the trick. I particularly like the travel stories but can’t tell you a thing about any of them, guess they work then?

But why is it happening? Surely, my only vice doesn’t have to go the same way as mini skirts and boob tubes (something you’re best of leaving in your youth).

Peri-menopause – yep you got it in one

I even had a blood test to see if it was peri and they said it wasn’t, I knew it was. 

So here I am, at 45, with a week per month when I can enjoy a glass of Pinot without suffering the consequences, but do I stick to the week window? Of course not. I think I need a little tattoo on my wrist, or to wear a rubber band around it to flick to remind me that even a sniff of wine on a non-drinking day will ruin my sleep, make me look like I’ve been to a rave the following morning and frankly not be worth it. So now, come Friday night, I’m trying to find a non-alcoholic tipple that I like. This week, I’m trying a posh elderflower presse with lots of ice – and a slice of virtue and willpower. Wish me luck!

Joss Herd’s Virgin Mojito

Mint leaves, limes, soda or lemonade with mint syrup to sweeten it up … bought off Amazon …. enjoy x

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