How to Fall Asleep After Fifty: A Woman’s Tutorial

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Kill me. Photo by

Ha! Gotcha. No woman sleeps after 50.


We run on caffeine and anxiety.

We have no choice.

Because once you hit 50(ish), three hours of unbroken sleep is exciting as being 20 and finding an awesome after-hours bar that didn’t card.

When I first started going through “THE CHANGE” my mother told me, “you will never get another good night’s sleep ever again.”

I thought she was being over-dramatic, as always.

She wasn’t.

But who needs sleep, right? Sleep is for the weak. And the lucky. And the men. So it just goes to follow that sleep is for weak, lucky men. That’s my story, and I’m rather attached to it.

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And of course, that asshole is sleeping like a baby. Photo by

They say having a bedtime ritual is essential if you want to establish a healthy sleeping pattern. Mine goes a bit like this:

9 p.m.: Grab a drink and take meds. Count cats. Put away clean dishes.

9:15 p.m.: Wash hands, face, and brush teeth. Notice toilet is grungy and scrub it. Wash hands again.

9:30 p.m.: Clean litter boxes for the 245427th time that day. Wash hands yet again.

9:45 p.m.: Spend 15 minutes searching for the drink I poured to take meds with.

10:00 p.m.: “Alexa, find my phone.”

10:02 p.m.: Pee.

10:05 p.m.: “Alexa, find my phone.”

10:15 p.m.: Make way to bedroom. Slip on pile of cat puke right outside the door.

10:16 p.m.: Clean up cat puke and spilled juice. A mere hand-washing will not suffice this time.

10:17 p.m: Shower off cat puke and spilled juice.

10:40 p.m.: Crawl in bed.

10:42 p.m.: “Did I lock the door?”

10:43 p.m.: Check door. Yes. I locked the door. Check again. Yep. Still locked.

10:45 p.m.: Back under covers.

10:46 -11 p.m.: Stare at ceiling.

11:01 p.m.: Turn on T.V.

11:02 p.m.: Think about what a cute couple Louise Belcher and Bobby Hill would make.

11:05 p.m.: Pee.

11:10 p.m.: Doze off.

1:30 a.m.: Wake up.

1:31 a.m.: Whimper.

1:45 a.m.: Pee.

Why does God hate me? Photo by Psychology Today

That’s it. Awake now. And awake I shall remain until 20 minutes before the alarm goes off.

Instead of rolling up in a ball and sobbing pitifully, it’s helpful to have pre-planned activities to while the long, dark, tedious nights away. Here are a few of my favorite stand-bys.

Hook up with the Fabulous Night Sweat Sisters (my back-up group, of course) and do a little number called:

“The Midnight Menopause Hokey Pokey”

You put your left leg in (back under the blanket),
You put your left leg out (from under the blanket),
You put them both back in and you shake them all about(those pins and needles and charlie horses)
You have another hot flash and you turn your fan around
And I think that’s what it’s all about but who knows this brain fog is heinous. Suppose I’ll go pee since I’m already awake.

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I’m hot I’m cold I’m hot I’m cold ughhhhh Photo by Smart Sleeping Tips

Another fun late night/early morning ritual is staring at the ceiling for hours weighing the pros and cons of getting up to pee vs. trying to get some sleep. Debate this scenario until you finally fall asleep 20 minutes before the alarm goes off.

You Can(and Probably Do) Play the Time-Tested Favorite Anxiety a la Mode:

“Did I shut the oven off?”

“I have this weird tickle in my spleen. I think I’m dying.”

“I ate that candy bar in the bathroom thirty years ago so I wouldn’t have to share it with the kids, and it still eats me up inside.”

“Meh. Screw it. Pie, please. Make it a la mode.”

An additional variation on this much-loved theme is:

“What the hell’s that smell?”

See if you can cloak yourself in denial and drift off to Dreamville where there is no juicy pile o’ poo needing your attention on the kitchen floor.

Here’s another option to consider:

“Holy Shit is That Smoke?”

For an adrenaline rush that will keep you awake and irritable for weeks.

Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Actually it’s not all bad. It’s a chance for some peace and quiet. You’ll see some breath-taking sunrises and exhaustion-induced hallucinations.

Always look for that silver lining. After all, you have all night to do it.

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Do not read the comments section do not read the comments section DAMN IT I’m reading the comments section Photo by Bustle

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is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

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