Tag Archives: night

Perseid Meteor Shower

Meteor_showerJust a quick note for fellow amateur skywatchers like me.  Tonight is the best night for seeing the Perseid meteor shower.  The shower is debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle and the earth passes through this trail of debris every year, the best nights for viewing in the northern hemisphere always occurring somewhere around 8th to 12th August.

When we moved away from town and out into the countryside it struck me how little of the night sky many of us humans see because of light pollution.  Without street lighting, on moonless nights the darkness can be almost inky black out here and it’s great for sky gazing.  On our first Summer at this house we sat out in the garden on some old reclining Summer chairs around the night of the 12th, children on our laps and all wrapped in warm blankets.  It was fantastic fun to watch the skies and see who could spot the meteors, although it wasn’t hard because this light show is a spectacular one on a good night, with several bolts of light visible in every minute.

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I’m still not back in my usual spot with the computer after the arrival of the carpets guys.  Time here is therefore limited but I hope things will be back to normal this weekend and I’ll be able to devote some proper time to catching up with everyone.

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Sleep, Rest and Recoup

tired

Tips for a restful night’s sleep

If you’re reading this, logic tells me that you are concerned about lack of sleep.  First of all, it’s important to say that  while 8 hours is the accepted norm for a good night’s sleep, you needn’t necessarily feel bad because you routinely sleep for less than this.  Some people actually only need 4 hours (Margaret Thatcher being a famous example), while others are out for the count for a full 12 (just about every teenager on the planet).  

However, sleep deprivation, when your body is telling you that you need more rest (!),  can be both debilitating and depressing and no one really wants to resort to potentially addictive chemicals to solve the problem. There are so many possible causes, cures and herbal remedies that I thought it might be helpful to put together a whole list of them.  I hope you’ll find something here to help. 

Herbal Help

Lavender has been known for centuries to induce relaxation and can be used in a number of ways: a couple of drops of essential oil sprinkled on the corner of your pillow will help, as will  lavender oil in a cold diffuser placed in the lavender-1bedroom.

A warm bath, at the optimum time of two hours before bed, helps to regulate body temperature to an ideal level and is particularly helpful when combined with lavender products like bubble bath and body lotion.

Herbal teas can also prove useful – chamomile and valerian (which is often combined with hops) are both well-known for aiding relaxation and sleep.  While both will help with insomnia, I’ve read recently that valerian, especially when combined with ‘chaste tree’ may help with sleep maintenance. 

Extra help and accepted wisdom

Even 20 minutes of gentle exercise during the day can help to stop stress hormones from interfering with sleep.

Try to avoid heavy meals just before bed – a minimum two hour gap between meal and bed is a good idea.

art-deco-girl-11Avoid caffeine drinks like regular tea, coffee and cola in the evening.

Is your actual bed ‘up to muster’?  The lifespan of a bed depends largely upon quality but as a rule of thumb, if your bed is ten to twelve years old you should probably replace it.  (Here’s a tip: If you suffer from backache, it may just be your bed)!

Equally, do you need new pillows?  There are a huge variety of pillows out there – foam, feather, down – and it may just be that a change of pillow would help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Try to avoid sheets with a high synthetic content.  Sheets with a high cotton content allow your skin to breathe, which in turn makes the bed feel more comfortable.  (I tend to buy sheets with a maximum cotton / minimum polyester content, simply because I’ve found some pure cotton sheets can be an absolute swine to launder).

Environment

Try to ensure that your bedroom is furnished fairly simply and is clutter free.  Psychologically, a clutter free bedroom makes for a calmer and more relaxing atmosphere.

Look at using colours for walls, carpets and soft furnishings that you personally find relaxing.  Traditionally shades of blue and green evoke feelings of calm and relaxation in many people but you may have something else in mind.  (For example, I always seem to opt for gentle creams). 

Try not to watch TV or work in bed.  Your bedroom should become associated in your mind with your own haven of peace and utter relaxation.

off-to-bed1The best temperature for a relaxed sleep is surprisingly cool, i.e. 68 degrees.  Fit individual thermostats to radiators if you can so that you can keep your bedroom at this temperature (and save money)!

It goes without saying that minimising noise and light will also help – it’s strange but true that even though you are asleep you will become aware of increasing light levels in a room where the curtains / blinds allow the morning light to percolate through.

If you live in a quiet area and it is safe to do so, leaving a ‘top light’ /small window slightly ajar to let in some fresh air is a good idea.  Good sleep doesn’t happen easily in a stuffy, ‘sealed’ room with stale air.

Less obvious but worth mentioning anyway:

Airing the room each day, allowing a fresh supply of oxygen to flow through your room will keep it smelling sweet and welcoming.

Toss back the covers each morning to allow cool air to permeate the bed covers.  Even half an hour of this while you shower will keep the bed smelling fresh (not to mention keeping any mites at bay)!

Make the bed each day – an un-made bed doesn’t exactly call you to its gentle embrace, now does it?

Change the bed sheets each week (hopefully you knew that one already)!

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I really, really hope something here will be of help.  Let me know how you get on and…

Remember if this is an on-going problem and you feel at all concerned you should still talk to your doctor.

sleep-soundly

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Friday night

Back in the day, around this time on a Friday (it’s now coming up to four o’clock in the afternoon) I started to get the most glorious fluttery butterflies of excitement in my stomach.  Friday nights were my absolute favourite time of the week because I knew I was ~FREE~ for the weekend!  My friend Ally and I would always head out to one of the few nightclubs here and as dance fanatics would literally dance, virtually non-stop, into the wee small hours.  Booze and blokes didn’t figure in the equation at all – it was all about music and dancing.  When I think about it, no wonder I managed to stay rail thin – I invariably skipped any dinner and then danced non-stop for several hours!

I’ve been having a great time looking around YouTube today and I have to say that if the song below had been around for us at the time, we’d have been on that dance floor.  I had been trying to remember the name of this one to find it on YouTube and, you know how it is, you have part of the riff in your head but can’t actually reach the important bit that tells you the title.  I only had to say to my daughter: You know, the one with the OTT guys flying in space and that funny little ‘po-wing’ sound and she knew exactly what I was talking about.  I found it – my happy Friday night ‘boogie on down’ (!) number:  ‘Flawless’ by The Ones.  I like the George Michael remix very much, but even though I’m a big fan of his music, I’d have to say that The Ones – the original – is probably better just for the completely OTT outfits and make-up.  Gotta love it…

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Lurking

Noooo!!!Last night I went to bed, was asleep for maybe 20 minutes then something made me wake and look to the area at the top of my pillow, where the bed meets the wall.  Disappearing down into the gap between the two was a big, black spider with a fat, squishy body.  It must have been lurking just inches from my head as I slept and some sixth sense had alerted me to its presence.

My husband, who was still awake at the time, heard the commotion I made as I frantically scrambled out of the way and, at midnight as it was, began a CSI-style hunt for the black beastie of the bed,  lights blazing, LED torch in hand.  Furniture was moved, bedding peeled back and checked, bed stripped and the mattress examined in minute detail.  I stayed for the start of this upheaval but had such a horrible headache and feeling of nausea at the time that I ended up curled up in a chair in the next room.  Given the headache, I actually started to wonder, and worry, whether I’d had an hallucination.  I mean, how could I have seen the little devil in the dark of the bedroom? And what, anyway, had made me wake?

After quite a while of thumping around, my husband emerged from our room, scrunched-up tissue in hand – spider vanquished.  I gather the little swine had found a smart hiding place – between the two divan bases that make up the expanse of our 6ft bed.  In other words my husband had had to dismantle the bed to find it!

It’s not the first time that this has happened to me.  About 18 months ago virtually the same thing occurred when a tickling on my hand made me wake to see a big black spider scuttling just inches from my nose.  Nice eh?  I don’t know – maybe they’re attracted by the sweet smell of my perfume.  Whatever it is, it creeps me out. Big time.

Heh…sleep tight tonight, won’t you?!

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