“Parade’s End” As Hot Milk, Or, Saturday Morning at 11:13am

Well my goodness. I slept until 9:40am. That hasn’t happened in 20 years. Of course, I was up for a while, sometime in the dark morning, but still. Sleep! Sweet, oblivious, restorative sleep!

I always heard that Nod can desert us as we age. I imagined I’d be safe. Ha. Pride goeth before a fall, and years of sweet dreams precede a terrible familiarity with 2:30am.

I have a few strategies. First, I try to worry a lot before I fall asleep. Sounds counter-intuitive, but I find that if I ferret out that which I might have glossed over during the day, if I worry and sort, I can put to rest those issues that might otherwise wake me later on. Second, I watch British television. Not the boring sort – although there isn’t as much of that as there used to be – but the gorgeous sagas and comedies.

For example, Ricky Gervais’ HBO comedy special. Or, as I have said before, Doc Martin. More recently, Downton Abbey, and just now, Parade’s End, playing on HBO. I swear the plummy tones of Benadict Cumberpatch’s voice talk me right into River Lethe. (Although I keep hoping the bad girl wins.)

And so off to Pinterest. It’s far easier to daydream, I find, when the night dream cousins have been fed.

(Note: the blog is displaying oddly today. Technical geniuses are working to fix it.)

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  • I should have waved your way, last night — I spent huge chunks of it awake, spreading my worry out rather than employing your wiser strategy. Have you watched The Hour yet? Another British drama well worth checking out.

  • Loved Parades End. Loved the slowness and the voices. I mean the show crawled but I loved every minute. It did put my husband to sleep so I watched with headphones. Ah, progress!

    As to Doc Martin, that’s wonderful for soothing ones parts that need soothing also.

  • I stayed awake until 4:00 am reading “The Good House” by Ann Leary. All my fellow New England wasps will understand why when they open this wonderful new novel.

  • What’cha pinning?

  • Well, that settles it. Upstairs I will go to watch Parade’s End! Last week a dear friend said I’d love it, and now today, you and Sandy. It’s snowy and dreary here in PA this afternoon. Universe, that’s all the nudging I need.

  • Waking in the middle of the night is apparently what we were meant to do… Check out this bbc article about it http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783 it makes me feel a lot better if I wake, rather than worrying about how tired I’ll be in the morning!

  • My favorite sleep aids are early evening Zumba, and a bit of magnesium citrate and plain gelatin, dissolved in a (non-caffeinated) tea, consumed before bedtime. Keeps the 4 a.m. wakies (which have something to do with one’s adrenal hormones) away, at least for this aging lady.

  • Sending puffy cotton sleep clouds your way for tonight’s rest.

  • I’ve read several articles that the mid-night wake-up is natural and have learned to embrace it. As soon as I wake up (usually 3:00) I get up, get a drink, look out the window to see what the weather is, etc. Then I straighen out the bed and hop back in. The ritual puts me right back to sleep.

  • Have you seen the new (modern) Sherlock on BBC? If you liked Benedict in Parade’s End, you will LURVE Sherlock. (I certainly do.)

  • We just finished watching Parade’s End the other night, and I have to admit it grew on me to the point that I now want to read the books. I want to know the back stories on the characters, and have more of the subtext filled in.

  • I kind of hate to tell you this since I know you like your glass of wine, but I find that if I have alcohol I wake up after several hours of sleep and end up awake for quite a while. If I don’t have alcohol, I sleep through the night (with only momentary waking to look at the clock). You might experiment with the occasional night off alcohol to see if you sleep better. I still have wine or beer when I want it, but I know the consequences and so choose to drink less often.

  • Loved Downton Abbey, thanks for the tip on Parades End! Great blog.

  • Yay British dramas! (But also yay HBO series like True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones…)

  • Wonderful! As for me, I learned to meditate back in my 20s. if I do it in bed, I always fall asleep. It’s not technically meant for sleep- but it works.

  • Downton Abbey came and went so quickly this season. Maggie Smith should have her own show, then I would go to sleep with a good chuckle.. i will take a peak at Parade’s End . Sweet dreams!

  • Hi! Hope I’m not too late in commenting: I have two books to recommend for fellow “Downton Abbey” fans.

    First is “To Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery.” It details (wickedly and humorously) the marriage sweepstakes among American heiresses in the Belle Epoque, pitting social-climbing parvenues against “bar-the-gates” Knickerbockers. Particularly riveting for anyone whose progenitors lived in New York at the time.

    The second, which I haven’t read yet but which was a NYT bestseller, is “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle.”

    Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch, yes, by all means, even as the new villain in the upcoming Star Trek movie!

  • I’ve been looking forward to watching Parade’s End. I love Rebecca Hall. For real relaxation before going to sleep, when going through a restless period, I watch certain movies that I have on DVD, and that I almost know my heart – for about 15 mins before I end up asleep. I haven’t slept through the night – maybe ever?

  • I never saw Parade’s End! I am waiting for the rerun. I find Downton too preposterous for words (although I do love the set and costumes, and of course Maggie Smith) but I have high hopes of anything which has met Benedict Cumberbatch’s approval.

    I find 5HTP quite useful, when sleep is evasive. We use melatonin in the ITU for patients whose sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. It’s not licensed OTC here but I think it is in America, so might be worth a try.

    I like your tip of getting your worrying out of the way before drifting off! I always try to stop my brain whirring when I am waiting for sleep, but maybe I should try embracing it …