I’ve never been drawn to self-help or motivational books and usually discount them as needless psycho-babble. Life is for living – not for over-analysing and fretting. How to raise a child, how to have a good marriage, how to be happy – surely the best way is to figure it out for yourself and learn from your own mistakes.
There is however nothing harmful in having a few helpful tips along the way, from someone who has been there and done it – in my case normally my family or good friends. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, feels a bit like getting such advice. Careers advice (often delivered through the use of personal stories) specifically for women, and particularly useful for the women who think they don’t really need it. I am riveted by it.
„Done is better than perfect“ – this mission statement shared by theFacebook COO is certainly one that I plan to use a bit more of in my life.
The tea I was brought up on most probably came from the Nilgiri tea plantations in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. ‘A dark, intensely aromatic fragrant and flavoured tea’ says Wikipedia. Hard to tell with the large serving of full fat milk in which the tea was boiled in before being drained and served with a generous dosing of sugar – the way traditionally enjoyed in India.
Getting accustomed to English life however, meant getting accustomed with the tea culture. And along came Tetley tea. Historically set up by the brothers Joseph and Edward Tetley in 1837 and well, really rather English. Suddenly the tea was watery, the measure of milk was reduced and added cold, but sugar was still the norm.
Time spent at university with ‘northern’ friends taught me the joys of Yorkshire tea. Study days with flatmates fueled by an unending supply of tea. The phrase ‘cup of tea anyone?’ was rarely negatively answered and the next round of tea was in. Tea bags quickly dunked in water, a splash of milk – done in 30 seconds (by this time health consciousness meant no added sugar).
In mainland Europe people generally drink coffee. But when tea is drunk, it tends to be done well – freshly brewed delicate Darjeeling first flush, exotic Ayurvedic mixtures or freshly cut ginger with orange and mint. Added to that the optimal brewing time and the appropriate homemade cake to go.
Some of this has sort of rubbed off on me. My collection at home now looks something like this…
Once a tea girl, always a tea girl. But oh how things have changed.
There are many reasons for insomnia: some which are short-lived (stressful life events, an uncomfortable hotel bed, the party next door) some which are to be expected and unavoidable (the loss of circadian rhythm due to shift-work) and still others which run a longer course and tend to be complex.
Insomnia which persists may be due to an underlying psychiatric or medical condition, to side-effects from medication, movement disorders (such as restless legs syndrome), poor sleep hygiene (i.e drinking that second glass of wine whilst watching tv before going to be) or learnt sleep preventing behaviours (intrusive thoughts and worry which prevent sleep).
I admitted a 74 year old gentleman into our sleep lab this week, who told me that he had trouble falling asleep, woke up several times in the night and had difficulty falling back to sleep. Typical complaints of someone suffering from insomnia. When quizzed further, he admitted that this had been the case for the last 20 years. Asked if he could think of a reason for this, he frankly concluded that it was probably due to marriage problems. He felt constantly under stress due to his wife and did not get on with her anymore. He felt he was too old to break-up from her. In fact, the only nights where he did sleep well now, were when she was away on holiday. He had never sought counselling or help regarding this, which was my obvious suggestion to him.
If counselling will help him and his wife remains to be seen. A marriage so unhappy, that it has deprived sleep for 20 years. Truly a sad case of insomnia.