My hospital stay was a long time ago now, around 3½ years, but it had a profound effect on my sleeping patterns.
As I’ve said before in this blog, I was in for about five weeks. Not insignificant, though I’ve known plenty of people who’ve been in longer. The regime in hospital was quite a simple one. Evening meal around 5 o’clock, thereafter, there was no therapy or doctors. So basically it all went quiet. There were TVs if somebody wanted to watch, there may be family visits, and a lot of people just dozed, it really wasn’t unusual for a lot of people to doze pretty much all the time. Nurses finally turned lights out at around 10pm, and all was dark – not quiet! – until the day shift nurses arrived in time to start at about 7:30am.
So, really, the evening meal was early, 5-ish, and after that, a lot of patients were asleep.
Obviously 5:30-6ish is ridiculously early to go to bed, but even after just a month in hospital, it rubbed off on me. I distinctly remember early days at home, struggling to stay awake beyond this time. In the early days, there was lots of sleep!
Even all this time later, I’m thinking of bed shortly after 9pm, and certainly don’t go beyond 10pm. It works out on the other side, too – this morning, for example, I woke up just before 5am, and got up just after. But that’s because we’re in the middle of summer – it’s different in December, though I always try to be up by 8am.
I remember in the early days. If I was doing something particularly engrossing, I’d stay awake, but otherwise, I liked a nap every afternoon. Nowadays I don’t nap. And, of course, nowadays I’m doing something engrossing every day – I write computer sodtware from home, on my own. That’s probably every bit as challenging as my previous life, although being home alone presents its own issues. The charity work has helped in that respect too – not particularly challenging intellectually, but in easing myself back into a “work” environment. For everybosy who volunteers, it is work and people strive to be just as useful as when they were paid.