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Daphne - Interview 29

Age at interview: 88
Brief Outline: Daphne has been retired for a few years, but has had a variety of very interesting professions, such as officer in the WAAF, fashion model and actress. On the whole she finds she sleeps well, but would like to have more than the five or six hours she currently has. Daphne believes sleep is very important, but would only really be concerned if she felt she couldn't get to sleep.
Background: Widowed, 2 children, retired Sales Assistant

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Daphne generally feels she sleeps well, largely because she is able to get to sleep almost straight away. Daphne usually reads a book before trying to go to sleep and finds that helps, as long as the book is light and easy to read. During the first part of the night Daphne sleeps very deeply, but does find she wakes up several times in the early hours of the morning, so may only get about 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. When Daphne wakes up she finds that if she counts slowly this will usually help her get to sleep again, and she tries not to get up in the night as she believes this wakes her up more.

 
Daphne is very active during the day, looking after her house and garden and often walks and takes the bus to go shopping. Daphne does find that if she sits down after lunch she may drop off to sleep for about 10-15 minutes, but doesn’t think this affects her sleep at night time.
 
When she wakes up in the morning Daphne finds she very quickly starts thinking about all the things she has to do, and so when she is on holiday or is staying somewhere else Daphne sleeps better because she knows there is no need to get up and do household chores.
 
Daphne’s advice to others for a good night’s sleep is not to drink coffee or eat after 9 pm as this will interfere with the quality of sleep.
 

Daphne has read somewhere that older people don’t need so much sleep.

Daphne has read somewhere that older people don’t need so much sleep.

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How was your sleep then when you were working full time?
 
I don’t know. I don’t seem to have too many sleep problems really. No I think it was more or less just the same.
 
Exactly the same yes. So have you noticed any change at all in how you’ve slept as you got older apart from as you say needing to sleep during the day. Have you noticed any change in your sleep at all?
 
Well I never used to wake up in the middle of the night like I do now. But I believe older people don’t need so much sleep.
 
Right is that something you’ve heard, older people don’t need so much sleep?
 
Or I have read it a lot and I think oh well this must be true, people do wake up in the night, they don’t need it. But I’d love to sleep in. Yes.
 

When Daphne’s daughter came to live with her she felt she had to get up earlier in the mornings...

When Daphne’s daughter came to live with her she felt she had to get up earlier in the mornings...

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So is that a normal night’s sleep for you then. Right the way through?
 
Yes, I usually wake up once and possibly twice at night, the beginning part of the night till two and three is flat out.
 
Okay, so you sleep very deeply?
 
Yes. I do.
 
And you don’t hear anything?
 
No.
 
But then you said you had how many hours sleep a night?
 
Five or six it depends, it depends.
 
And do you feel that’s enough for you?
 
I’d like a lot more. I mean I go and stay with my son who lives [Country] and I sleep there until 9 o’clock in the morning.
 
Oh right.
 
And I think that’s probably because I have no stress there. I am away from all the problems. I keep thinking at home, thinking about the next day’s things and what you have got to do, and possibly that wakes me up.
 
But when you are at your son’s you go to bed at the same time?
 
Approximately yes. About perhaps 11 or 12. But to sleep, and I just sleep straight on. I sleep till about 8 or 9 o’clock there.
 
And how do you feel when you wake up there?
 
Fine, yes I feel great.
 
And what about here when you wake up?
 
Ah, All the problems descend as to what I have to do first. I am 88. So I have got to think what I have got to do and get moving.
 
Right. So is that the first thing that comes into your head when you wake up in the morning?
 
oh yes.
 
What have I got to do?
 
Well I have got a very demanding daughter. I want my tea. I want my tea!
 
Really. She’s like that is she…?
 
Hm.
 
Your daughter is the one who is demanding from you at the moment?
 
Yes, I think that’s probably what’s keeping me awake.
 
 
So your daughter is living with you. Is she working?
 
Yes, she is.
 
So she is out during the day?
 
Hm.
 
If she wasn’t here, would you sleep differently do you think?
 
Would I what?
 
Sleep differently?
 
I don’t know. I probably would get up later I should think, yes, yes. You know, you worry about her, she has got a very demanding job, and she is working for an IT company and it’s head down all day, no time for anything, you do, its horrendous. It’s very hard work. Of course she comes home very tired. A bit cross. So we cope with it.
 
Okay so if she wasn’t here you’d probably wake up a bit later. Do you think you’d wake up a bit more relaxed?
 
I would probably wake up a little bit later, yes, I probably would.
 
So you get up in the morning to help get her…?
 
Well yes, because she needs a certain length of time to get up, shampoo and shower and all
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