Friday, March 3, 2017


So I blissfully slept on the couch last night, curled up wearing a sweatshirt and in the middle of four blankets of various weight.  I'm a girl who likes some heat and the weight of covers when she sleeps.  There have likely been downwards of two times in my life when I haven't been able to sleep because "it was so hot."  Por ejemplo.  We went tent camping in 100-degree humid heat last year.  The heat bothered me not a jot (at night).  When I was a mid-teen, my parents gave me one two of my favorite presents ever: flannel sheets and a down comforter.  July was toasty roasty in my room.  I admit, it almost sounds disgusting to me to acknowledge that I used to sleep in flannels year round, but then I remember the glacial conditions that my dad (i.e. the one controlling the A/C) prefers.  Whenever we visit now, there's nearly always an extra blanket or two ready and waiting at the foot of the bed because it's like they know me.   

Those roasting July nights of my youth...ah...those were some of the best of times when it comes to my sleep.  As an adult, there have really been two better-than-I-could-possibly-believe of times that I now recognize in hindsight.  (If only I had appreciated the glory days when I was in them.  Nowadays is very much not the glory days.) 
#1:  When I was teaching full-time, pre-children especially, and getting up earlyearlyearly so that I could drive to work and/or when I didn't even have the longer commute but still cut myself off from work at 11 PM each night after longlonglong days.
#2:  Both times I had a newborn.  Naturally.  Those days taught me how to sleep for realsies. 

But something happened a little over 18 months ago, July 2015, actually.  That was some humdinger of a month, I tell ya.  Sleep - no more.  Hormones - not my normal.  Life - different.  I'm pretty positive that this whole thing has been a hormone issue from the get-go given that my sleep changed muy dramatically all at the same time as other not-very-exciting-nor-blogworthy things happened.  But who knew that one would need to be sleep trained mid-30s?  Not I.

Now I.

I read this article once before but came across it again today and I read this last night, so it seemed like a good time to talk about it, given my couch surfing proclivity.  (To be fair, I fully expected to sleep on the couch last night 'cause I had coffee late and was teaching late.  Even without coffee, after driving home, it takes me a while to downshift into neutral, and by that point, my normal was a while ago.) 

I desperately want my own room that we can call a "guest room" for the sake of social appearances.  I never need melatonin when I sleep by myself.  I always need it at minimum otherwise. 

I don't love all of the 10 tips, though, for re-training your sleep patterns.  I'm n-o-t a fan of less than 67 degrees in my bedroom.  We get that low in the winter, but my nose gets cold.  Blergh.  I'm not on board with getting rid of a clock, even though I'm aware of the light issue.  And it's 100% IMPOSSIBLE that I forgo my computerly devices within 2 hours of sleeping.  When would I work?  That is my prime working time; I could have a jam packed kid day and feel confident that I was going to get something accomplished once they were put away for the night.  It's a non-option.  I feel anxious-er now just thinking such a dreadful thought.

I haven't tried any of the teas yet because a) tea tastes like t-e-a (and while I've adjusted to my cuppa green each day, unsweetened, something reminiscent of hay doesn't scream sleep baby sleep to me) and b) diuretics seem to contradict my nighttime goals.  Has anyone had any success with an herbal nod? 

And how does one sleep this way when one is not in one's own meticulously curated sleeping space?  So much can go wrong.  So much does go wrong.  There's a noisy fan running somewhere.  The room is frigid.  My child is BREATHING beside me.  The windows don't have coverings (what the what here, good people of the hospitality industry?!?).  Good people that we travel with are on a different sleep/wake schedule and talk like people are wont to do.  The mattress just feels different.  Call me kooksville if you want, but why yes, I am that person bringing my own pillow to the hotel/B&B/in-laws/whatehaveyou because that's a deal breaker.  Give me my pillow or give me a night of wallowing.  (I do have the perfect pillow.)

Sleeping outside of my home is a new worry.  A worrisome worry.  It's enough to make me all a-dither before the witching hour draws nigh when staring a strange sleeping arrangement in the face.  It's gotten to the point that I mentally scout a second-option-escape-route out in advance.  Just in case.  And it's almost always needed now.


This sleeping thing is for the birds.  Maybe not...they were singing pretty happily at 5 AM-ish just the other day.      

1 comment:

Crystal said...

As you remember I can sleep immediately, and anywhere. At least I used to. Now well into my second pregnancy that's not nearly as reliable as it used to be. I read this week that 49% of American adults have sleep related problems and that one in six has chronic insomnia. (The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith). And that book was published in 2009, so I would guess the numbers could be even higher now.
I think some of these tips really help me to have a better sleep time. I notice when I don't apply them. Others don't seem to make much difference to me. My best friend while I lived in Chicago had extreme sleep difficulty and saw many specialists and so I learned a lot about different options for sleep problems. And J has a CPAP machine AND a mouth guard now that he has to use every night. It works.
Tips that don't seem to change anything for me: using my bed exclusively for sleeping/sex, not for reading or other activities. No interruptions - even getting up 3-4 times a night to pee (I am pregnant), or to check on Z's feeding machine I'm able to fall back to sleep within 2 min. of getting back in bed, with a rare exception around 4 or 5 am when I'm awake for the rest of the day.
But things that make a huge difference for me: limiting light in the room, not having a visible clock, the biggest one is trying to keep a uniform waking up time. Going to bed time can vary more for me with less problematic effect. But if I can get up in the morning within about an hour or 90 minutes consistently (between 6:30 and 7:30 or 8) that makes a huge positive difference in my ability to sleep, and feeling rested. I do sleep better if I limit screen time, but I rarely succeed at that one (as evidenced by my leaving this comment after midnight when I have a 6 am appointment tomorrow morning).
Z struggles to sleep without white noise. Right now she has an air purifier, a heater, and a fish tank running in her room. I think it's because after living in the NICU with so many beeps and talking she couldn't do silence, and noise variations (a train whistle, or a truck going by) was extremely disruptive to her. It annoys me, because I can hear those three noise makers on her baby monitor, which I took a long time to get used to.
Good luck. Truly, these habit changes will make a difference. I wish you luck in having a guest room. Your secret is safe with me!