sleeping together

Not me.

I’m told I snore.

Now as a fine lady, I deny this allegation completely and submit that should I emit any nocturnal sound at all, it is a mere gentle purring, not the bear-like grunts I stand accused of (despite the evidence on my husbands bedside table: a pack of bright orange ear plugs).

My poor partner suffers from insomnia rather badly though and is often prowling around the house at 03:28, (Why is it that insomniacs always waken at the same time?) having woken up and not been able to fall back asleep. He is also mosquito averse and will always be the one to be bitten, and I do sometimes get pulled out of my dream where I am meeting Brad Pitt in a Cadbury’s factory, to find my beloved balancing on the bed with a T-shirt in hand as he bounces around trying to swipe at the kamikazi insects, who leave little bloodstained epitaphs on our ceiling as they gasp their final farewell whines.

I confess that I have no such problems and if I do get disturbed, I can easily drift off again after responding to the inner calling of an abdomen that has survived five children pounding on its bladder with their little Irish Dancing womb-booties. But I can empathize with his nightly struggles.

Ironically, it is the Maestro in fact who introduced me to the habit of listening to YouTube as I fall asleep. We used to have QI on and enjoyed both the knowledge and humour of it before dozing off. Now, I just hear that music anytime of the night and I’m Pavlovian asleep again. It no longer helps him though, so being disturbed by my soft snuffling must be really difficult for him.

When I was a newly separated young single parent (before the Maestro had the joy of my gentle murmurs beside him) I played the radio all night as company – it made me feel less afraid. So I am comfortable with voices as a soporific aid. I do not need to be a sheep accountant. He has that kind of brain though that once he is awake, he starts to obsess about the next teaching day’s challenges… and… and… and…

The Maestro is tolerant of my musical mouth-breathing up to a point. I know he has reached the moment of considering a migration to the spare room when he sits up and demands I roll over onto my side, insisting, ‘That’s enough now!’ But I have done several things to make it better, like puffing on Vicks inhalers before bed, sleeping on my side, and even using hideous tasting drops; I don’t smoke or drink. To no avail: I continue to saw logs with the artistry of a seasoned lumberjack. They say one should lose weight as well.

So, I may have to give up chocolates.

But that would be admitting I snore.

Late Night Bed-Dread

9 Ways to Stay up Late and Avoid Feeling Sleepy

Turns out this is a thing.

I get very little sleep at night more is the pity. And yet when I am done with my work, I just can’t seem to simply climb into bed and pass out.

I mean, I can, but I don’t.

I’m wondering whether any other night owls are the same. I don’t have a problem falling sleep so I am not an insomniac. I just have me-time FOMO. I know I should be grabbing what precious hours are left before dawn to take a trip to visit Morpheus, but I delay that wonderful surrendering of self to the oblivion of sleep, like a child refusing to nap.

And what do I do? I scroll aimlessly through my social media. It’s not exactly a meaningful activity, I know. Before the world was turned on its head and libraries shut (gasp!) I would read at least one chapter of my current book, fighting the natural desire to nod off, just so I could grab some pleasure in the long-dead day. So, I dawdle and do thinks like paint my nails or go down some Facebook wormhole that I have no interest in at all.

And I think that’s the problem: I feel so deprived of leisure time that I punish myself still further and get even less sleep. I can just hear my mother scolding me about ‘cutting off my nose to spite my own face.’

And the worst is that I grow more agitated the later (or earlier) it becomes, knowing that I am missing out on sleep. I can’t win.  And it’s a foolish pastime because… well time passes as I delay the gratification of sleep in order to feel that the day wasn’t all about work.

There is such a thing as ‘somniphobia’ (I kid you not – I read it in the University of Google library, but it is more a fear of being asleep. https://www.healthline.com/health/somniphobia#symptoms

I am not afraid of sleeping. I love sleep. I simply want to have some time to feel I did something for me before I go to sleep.

Another article refers my weird behaviour as ‘bedtime procrastination.’ And draws connections to poor self-control (nonsense I say as I pop some more choccies in my mouth.) and one’s circadian rhythms. https://www.popsci.com/why-you-stay-up-too-late/

Yet another piece speaks about ‘delayed sleep-phase syndrome’ which suggests that there is a gene which causes nocturnal wakefulness. https://www.verywellhealth.com/delayed-sleep-phase-syndrome-overview-4585048

So, turns out I’m not that special – loads of others also suffer from this silliness (in fact I’m a bit troubled to realize that all these articles mention ‘sleep disorders’ in the same breath, so perhaps it’s time I sorted my $$#% out. My competitive nature cannot bear to be ‘disordered.’) The good thing about living in the Western Cape during stormy winter nights is that after a while you have to snuggle down…and I have the Maestro there too… so I never stay up all night.

But turns out I’m in good company:

‘I tend to stay up late, not because I’m partying but because it’s the only time of the day when I’m alone and don’t have to be performing.’

Jim Carrey