Sleep And Retirement

Something to consider, if and when you plan to retire.

When I first retired from work at the age of 60 in 2012, it felt like a holiday. Hard to believe that I never had to show up for a job again, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all rather fake. Just like that feeling on a foreign holiday, I was sure I would have to go home eventually. But I couldn’t go home, because I was at home. And I couldn’t go back to work, because I no longer had a job.

So I stayed up late. Very late. I watched films into the early hours. I read books in one long sitting. Then I started blogging in the summer, and sat at the computer until three in the morning most nights, wondering what to post onto my new blog.

I hadn’t worked a 12-hour shift, so I wasn’t really that tired.

That was made worse by sleeping-in. Some days I didn’t stir until ten. But we had Ollie by then, so he had to go out. Long walks with him, sometimes very long walks that wore us both out. Four or five hours discovering the area around Beetley on foot.

But I still wasn’t that tired at night.

The following year, I started volunteering for the Fire Service. Twenty hours a week Monday to Friday, then rushing back to take Ollie out for yet another long walk. Julie was working full time back then, so I still stayed up much later than her.

It took almost ten years of adjustment, but in 2021 I started to go to bed earlier. I might have tossed and turned a bit, but I eventually went to sleep at least four hours earlier than I had been doing. By 2022, age was beginning to tell when I reached the age of seventy. I cut down my screen time in the evenings, avoiding the computer after dinner as much as possible. And I tried to go to bed at or just after eleven at night.

That started to work. No reading in bed, getting up when I woke up, instead of turning over.

Now I am awake by (or before) seven most days. I get tired around ten at night, and I look forward to my bed just after eleven. At weekends I try to stay up until after midnight, to keep Julie company. But that doesn’t always work out, and I am still in bed before twelve sometimes.

It took a very long time, but I finally sorted out my sleep pattern in retirement.

54 thoughts on “Sleep And Retirement

  1. It took me a while to stop the late nights although we had a restaurant when we first retired so late nights were a requisite now my Laptop goes off at 8.30 pm then it’s time to shower and time to read then sleep at 10 pm…I have always been an early riser all my life so that’s never going to change I’m awake at 5.30 am…hubby doesn’t appear until 9 pm but he stays up later than me …I agree for most of us retirement does mean we have to change our sleeping habits πŸ™‚ x

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  2. In retirement, I found myself lying awake at night until I took up writing (fiction). Once I got into writing my ‘practice novel’ (still just a file on my laptop) I slept like the proverbial baby.

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  3. You did well getting a handle on a pattern of sleep! I retired in 2008, and I still stay up writing and/or reading until well after 3:00 a.m. most nights, sometimes ’til just before 5:00 when my daughter gets up to go to work!

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  4. So many adjustments we have to make in retirement! I’m glad you worked out the sleep thing. I never got into the habit of late nights. Mostly I’m thankful that if I do have a poor night’s sleep, I don’t have be at work early the next morning. Such a relief.

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  5. When the boys were small they woke up early, and now we still do although I’m sure they don’t. I’m out driving to work just after 7am, and even if I’m not at work I’m up around 06:30. Luckily for us we’re both tired around 10pm.

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    1. My routine is usually awake by 7am, sleepy at 10pm. I go to bed just after 11 most nights, long before Julie feels tired enough to sleep. (But she is 9 years younger than me.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. Six years in, and I’m still working on it. 🀣 I have trouble falling asleep, so I read until my eyes can’t stay open. I get up early regardless. I seem to be one of those people who can function on 4-5 hours per night.

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    1. It’s good if lack of sleep doesn’t bother you, Pete. I had to sort out my sleep when I started to be ready for bed after dinner. One night, I went to bed at 8:30pm, and I thought, ‘this has to stop’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I took a little but, like you, Pete, I finally settled into a sleep pattern. At first the bladder calls bothered me, until I realized since we no longer had a watchdog, the calls took on another item of importance.

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  8. Retirement is one of life’s big traumas. While my job had become very frustrating as well as stressful, every time I thought of retiring it overwhelmed me. In the end the decision was taken from me by medical issues. I could have gone back, technically but by then I had been off sick a long time and it had cushioned the blow of retiring. I never had to face the “last day”. It was a coward’s way out. Afterwards it was a matter of so many adjustments and that’s when I began fostering cats. I completely detached from my former life and sometimes I feel as if that was a different person altogether. I’m glad you finally made the transition. Ollie was obviously a big part!

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    1. Ollie saved me from being aimless and frustrated, Carolyn. He gave me a reason to structure my day, and have the routine that I missed after 33 years on shifts.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  9. I retired at 72 after TfL stopped licensing economic cabs, after working shift work since 1972. Curiously I’ve never had trouble steeping before or after retirement. But maybe I’m just dopey.

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    1. I had problems sleeping when the shift changes were weekly. Once I got onto 12 hour shifts working for the Police, that was less of a problem. But when I first retired I was only 60, and I never felt tired enough to sleep at a ‘normal’ time. Now I am 71, I am ready by 11pm.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  10. I think I was possibly lucky, being able to adjust to retirement very easily, having been self-employed and not working regularly before that. I’m enjoying it, but I’ve never been a night owl, so I usually turn in around 11. As for sleep: that’s very unpredictable……. Cheers, Jon.

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  11. I finished work in 2011. Early retirement you might say. I was made redundant for the third time in my working life. This time I had enough money to pay off my mortgage both my husband and I had been working hard to get the repairs done to the house and to pay off the loans needed for them. We were just at the point where another eight years would have cleared the mortgage when my company decided cheaper labour in India and short-contract workers were the way forward.
    My kind husband said now we’re debt-free I could follow my dream to write full-time. I still get up at the same time as my husband who starts work at five, so during the working week we go to bed at nine. I keep a diary so I don’t lose track of the days. It’s so easy to forget what day of the week it is when you have no structure in your life.
    Sleep is the most important thing to staying fit and healthy.

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    1. I have a calendar on my desk to remind me of the days and month, just in case I forget. πŸ™‚ Well done to you for getting up at 5am, I have rarely done that since retiring.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Retirement does take some retraining for it to be a smooth day…..my problem is pain keeps me from good sleep but I learned to deal with that as well….retirement is the best. chuq

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  13. Good thoughts. I have a bedtime routine which involves writing my diary, a short meditation and reading the Narnia books. This gets me in the right frame of mind

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  14. i have a Nanna Nap in the arvo & still sleep shift hours. I have my week of earlys, week of lates then nights. Its horrible at times. I try counting sheep at times but Pete would make a joke out of that eh.

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    1. I can’t do naps, Gavin. It makes me sluggish when I wake up, and then ruins my night’s sleep.
      (Do you stop counting once you see the best-looking sheep? πŸ™‚ )
      Best wishes, Pete.

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