January 7, 2013


I have always been a hard sleeper. I come by it honestly, the true daughter of a man who could nap through his own sneezes, and I really can't complain, since it allows me to snooze pretty much anywhere (long car trips, loud theaters, the roof of a screaming locomotive, and my own living room couch while my husband watches war movies at life-like decibels). Even in the middle of the day, I rarely find it difficult to fall asleep, and once I'm out it's not an easy task to get me moving again. I like my sleep. And I need my sleep -- lots of it -- to avoid a rather messy transformation into an impatient, whiny terror who is just one misstep away from completely falling apart. I am not a pretty tired person.
My husband, however, could not be more opposite. He functions just fine on a few hours each night and is a much lighter sleeper: I am honestly a bit worried for our future children, because while Dad will surely hear them crying their little lungs out in the middle of the night, it's entirely possible that Mom will dream right through it. 
Since returning from a deployment during which 2am wakeup calls were practically a rule, however, poor hubby has had a tough time getting back to a normal sleep schedule. Most nights he struggles to fall asleep before 2 or 3 in the morning, and even then he often wakes up just a few hours later and can't get back to sleep. It is not rare for me to wake up when he finally comes to bed at night, roll over to look at the clock, and realize that I have to get up in less than an hour. 
I try hard to be supportive and sensitive to his difficulty with this, although my own relationship with sleep makes it hard to understand what he is going through and know how to help most of the time. Yesterday, though, I definitely slipped up and opened my mouth when it would have been much better off shut. 
As a preface: the past few weeks have left me more tired than normal. Lots of stress and going to bed too late coupled with colder weather and darker days have exhausted me, and several times lately I've skipped the gym/cooking dinner/cleaning the house in favor of cuddling up for a nap. Wonderful, but always guilt-inducing... especially when "just 20 minutes" turns into 2 hours, as it often does. So yesterday, when Dan and I were watching TV and happened to see a commercial for some prescription medicine that listed "trouble sleeping" as a side effect, I spoke without thinking, uttering something to the effect of, "I'd kill to have trouble sleeping. I'd get so much more done." Um, insensitive and awful, table for one?
I immediately realized how terrible my comment was, a fact which was hammered home by my husband's growl of "You don't get more done. You lie there and try to sleep for hours. It sucks." Youch. I took my foot out of my mouth long enough to apologize, but felt pretty bad about it for quite a while afterwards. In fact, I was still feeling guilty when I went to bed last night... but apparently, the universe decided that guilt wasn't quite enough.
I hit the pillow around 11 last night -- right on time for a pretty good night's sleep in a hopeful attempt to start the week off well. I fell asleep with no problem, like normal... and then woke up about an hour later. I moved my iPad (aka bedtime reading) over to my bedside table and turned over, expecting to fall back asleep with no trouble... except I didn't. I lay there for what felt like ages, watching the minutes of precious sleep tick away, wasted. Ugh. I only know that I did eventually doze off because the next thing I knew, I was waking up again. I checked my phone: 3:15 am. Ugh. This time I lay there so long without any luck that I actually went back to reading, which eventually did the trick. But the night wasn't over yet -- I woke up again around 5, struggled to sleep for almost an hour, and finally managed to fall into a wonderfully deep sleep just minutes before my alarm started to howl. Ugh.
I feel like I've been run over by a bus today. I am exhausted and irritable and my neck aches like I've been sleeping outside for a week. I am counting the hours until bedtime, but in an extra dose of now-I-really-know-how-tough-this-is-on-my-husband, I'm nervous to even look forward to it, knowing that it could be another night of lying there cursing watching the cat sleeping peacefully.
A warning: Karma bites back, and it bites hard. And no, despite being awake more than I slept last night, I didn't get anything done... unless you count learning a valuable lesson. I think I owe my husband a backrub....



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