The usual advice is to keep away from your phone and other bright screens when you’re trying to sleep. But suppose you’ve tried all that and more besides, and you still can’t doze off? I asked volunteer worker Andy Tudor to write about his Wide Awake at 3am Club on Twitter. He finds himself awake in the small hours for a very particular reason ~ Carol
Ever since the surgical removal of my brain tumour nearly five years ago, I typically only sleep in two-hour chunks, and am wide awake in between. I have no problem getting to sleep. I just can’t stay there for long.
A common side-effect of any brain trauma (e.g. stroke, accident, surgery) is the disruption of the neurotransmitter chemical process which regulates and encourages the brain to stay asleep. The result? Waking up a lot earlier than intended.
I often find myself wide awake around 3am, which can be a dark, lonely place if the mind isn’t occupied. I decided to start a Twitter ‘club’ whereby I post most nights around 3am to keep others who are awake – for whatever reason – company.
This has proved more and more popular as word spreads. I’ve been amazed to find so many people engaging actively.
To provide a welcome distraction to anyone awake at that hour, I try to think up topics that might be quirky. Popular examples of recent posts include:
Do you have pets who don’t care about your dignity? 😂
As there’s a heatwave, let’s see your favourite holiday picture! 😎😄
What’s the dullest photo you have?… here’s mine! 😂
My lad was in this city on the weekend – where was he? 😄
My posts have have a lot of positive feedback on my posts, a recent example being: “Just want to say your 3am club thing really makes me feel better at waking at such an ungodly hour… like it’s OK.”
Assuming my sleep patterns don’t change, I aim to continue posting, to provide support and company to anyone awake for any reason at that time. I also get interaction from around the world, which is great for providing more company for everyone awake. With luck, I then fall asleep again a bit later.
If you’re ever conscious around three in the morning or soon after, please look out for my “Wide Awake at 3am” Club posts.
You’ll find me at @AndyHTudor1 Come over and join in the fun!
For those interested, I had a large, low grade (benign) meningioma, up to 7cm in diameter. It was completely removed in a six-hour operation at Southampton hospital six weeks after initial diagnosis in January 2017. My annual brain MRI scans have been all-clear since, and I lead a full, active life. However, I do suffer from brain fatigue and tinnitus, although I have coping mechanisms to manage their effects – but that’s a whole other blog!
I strongly recommend the excellent Brain Tumour Charity to anyone who’d like to know more about the symptoms and effects of a brain tumour. It’s also brilliant for those who’ve been diagnosed – and for their families.