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Ronald - Interview 01

Age at interview: 71
Brief Outline: Ronald finds he usually gets about 6 to 7 hours sleep a night, but this is disturbed by having to get up and go to the toilet. Although he usually drops off to sleep straight away, occasionally he finds he can't get to sleep, or wakes up in the night and can't get back to sleep, so on these occasions he tries counting sheep, but this doesn't always work. Ronald noticed a change in his sleep pattern when he took early retirement because of health problems, and the change in his daily routine.
Background: Married, 3 children, retired Site Plant Operator

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Ronald finds he often drops off to sleep in the evening if he has had a particularly busy day, such as working in the garden, but doesn’t mind this as he counts it in his daily total of sleep and helps to make up the amount he feels he needs. He has noticed that if he doesn’t get enough sleep he feels irritable.

 
When Ronald wakes up in the night he wouldn’t consider coming downstairs because he feels this would wake him up more and he would find it very difficult to get back to sleep, so he would rather stay in bed. Sometimes if he is very tired Ronald finds his legs twitch and it is difficult to get them to keep still.
 
Ronald likes to keep mobile and still drives and does everything that needs to be done in the house and garden, and occasionally also helps other older people with their gardens. Ronald feels it is very important to be independent and to be physically and mentally active.
 

Ronald was prescribed sleeping tablets to help him sleep during an illness, but didn’t like to...

Ronald was prescribed sleeping tablets to help him sleep during an illness, but didn’t like to...

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I did once. I had some sleeping pills. I think it was soon after the bladder infection which I picked up. I had a bit of a job then sleeping.
 
And did he give you something?
 
Yes, he gave me some tablets. I mean I didn’t take them for long because I found they didn’t seem suited to me.
 
Oh right and you didn’t go back to him?
 
No it seemed to right itself and so I just, you know, left the pills off and things settled down really.
 
How long did you take them for do you know?
 
Oh only for a short period, because they didn’t seem to suit me at all. I didn’t feel well in the day time after taking the pills for the sleeping at night.
 
It makes you feel sluggish and dozy?
 
Yes, you know, it was awful really. I don’t like taking any more pills than are necessary really.
 
Yes, because you have had quite a fair number of health problems as well?
 
At times yes.
 
So you are used to taking lots of medication?
 
Yes. 
 

After a busy day Ronald can fall asleep in front of the television and miss seeing a programme he...

After a busy day Ronald can fall asleep in front of the television and miss seeing a programme he...

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Well as I say that is the normal routine, but then if I am busy during the day, like today when I have finished here, if I go out to this allotment I have taken on, which is fairly physical work to get it straight, then get rather tired, come home in the evening, have a meal, and be watching television about half past seven and then just drop off to sleep, just like that.
 
And not realise you know, even watching a recording sometimes that we have recorded, want to watch it, but your body takes over and you just go to sleep and I can go to sleep for perhaps half an hour, three quarters of an hour.
 
Are you are trying to stay awake, you don’t want to fall asleep?
 
Well it just seems to happen. I don’t know that I am doing it. I wake up and wonder sometimes where you are for a little while, and then it sort of all dawns on you and then you think, oh dear I have missed half the programme you have recorded, it seems rather strange then.
 

Ronald has found that as he has got older he goes to the toilet a lot more in the night.

Ronald has found that as he has got older he goes to the toilet a lot more in the night.

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And you say you wake up to go the loo though a couple of times in the night now?
 
Hm.
 
How long has that been going on?
 
Well it is probably more now than…
 
You have noticed an increase?
 
Yes. I mean I think as you get older, either your bladder gets weaker or if you look, like I am taking at the moment more fluids because of this problem with gout, they reckon then you drink six pints of water a day.
 
That’s a lot.
 
Yes, it is.
 
It is more than the normal amount isn’t it?
 
Oh yes, by far, by far. But I mean it is something that they advise you to do, so I try to do that but of course it reflects against your sleep pattern a bit.
 
Yes, so you find you get up, how many times did you say?
 
About twice perhaps three times.
 
And you think it is your bladder waking up and you say oh it’s time to go the loo now?
 
Partly, yes, partly. Another thing it is just the age that I am, I think.
 

Ronald sees falling asleep in the evening in front of the television as natural, but would be...

Ronald sees falling asleep in the evening in front of the television as natural, but would be...

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Okay you talked a bit about falling asleep in front of the telly in the evening, and you said that is absolutely fine, you don’t think there is an issue with that?
 
Oh no, no, I just take it as a natural thing as you get older.
 
Would you feel the same if you actually had to fall asleep during the day. Would you feel the same way about…?
 
Probably not… probably not.
 
Why is that, do you know?
 
Well because I like to do things during the day time.
 
So what would you feel if you had to keep falling asleep during the day?
 
Well I think I would go to the doctors. I don’t think it would be in my sort of character or make up.
 

Ronald retired early because of health problems, and noticed a change in his sleep then because...

Ronald retired early because of health problems, and noticed a change in his sleep then because...

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Well I suppose soon after I retired. Perhaps I took early retirement, as I say I was about 53. And then, yes, that’s it the back problem. Probably a change then, I mean from the routine of going to work in the end from sort of 8 o’clock to five o’clock, it seemed to just generally make my sleep pattern change a bit.
 
Oh so you think there was probably a change from… because you had that routine?
 
Yes, that is right. I think that is something to do with it.
 
That is interesting. Yes. So your day changed because you didn’t have this I have to get up to go to work kind of thing?
 
Hm.
 
So then your sleep pattern changed at that time?
 
Seemed to change yes.
 
Well that is interesting.
 
Either associated with that and plus the age and then plus this health problem with…
 

Ronald thinks his sleep has changed since retirement for several reasons, including changes in...

Ronald thinks his sleep has changed since retirement for several reasons, including changes in...

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Well I suppose soon after I retired. Perhaps I took early retirement, as I say I was about 53. And then, yes, that’s it the back problem. Probably a change then, I mean from the routine of going to work in the end from sort of 8 o’clock to five o’clock, it seemed to just generally make my sleep pattern change a bit.
 
Oh so you think there was probably a change from… because you had that routine?
 
Yes, that is right. I think that is something to do with it.
 
That is interesting. Yes. So your day changed because you didn’t have this I have to get up to go to work kind of thing?
 
Hm.
 
So then your sleep pattern changed at that time?
 
Seemed to change yes.
 
Well that is interesting.
 
Either associated with that and plus the age and then plus this health problem with…
 
Did you have an expectation that your sleep might change as you aged. Did you think that might happen?
 
No.
 
You didn’t?
 
No.
 
So it came as a surprise to you?
 
I didn’t think about it. 
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