To sleep, perchance to dream

sleep2

AGMA dreaming of sleeping through the night

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,                                                                         The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,                                                                      Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,                                                                 Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

So it sounds like Bill knew how to get a good night’s sleep.

No surprise… No Monday Night Football or TV series to binge watch on Netflix. No glowing blue screens to reduce the production of his melatonin. No “mine is bigger than yours” dare and double dare between two narcissistic, megalomaniac bullies that threatens to wipe out humanity.

How about you? How you sleepin’ at night?

Once upon a time, AGMA slept like tRump at the G20. Like a log.

From my childhood through my 20’s, I was a 8 hour a night sleeper. Sometimes 9.

But of course, that was PC.

Pre-children…

Sleep patterns start going downhill when you’re pregnant.

The first thing to go was the tummy sleeping. As a child and young adult, AGMA was a tummy sleeper. However, this is difficult if you have a little human in your abdomen. They tend to take issue with being squished. Plus, you reach the point where tummy sleeping is like balancing your body on a volleyball.

I became a fitful side sleeper.

Then there were the wee hours (pun intended) trips to the bathroom. That little human needs more room as he grows. And the space formerly occupied by your bladder seems the perfect place for him to practice his downward dog.

Bladder volume decreases significantly. Bathroom visits increase exponentially.

Finally, there is the last month of pregnancy where no sleeping position is comfortable no matter how many pillows you try to stuff around the “hanging out” places

Then the baby comes and all hell breaks loose. Sleeping at night is replaced with naps that come in 2 to 4 hour intervals 24/7. The distinction between day and night is a blur. AGMA looked like an extra on The Walking Dead.

We had our second son when our first was 18 months old. This was a brilliant (if unintended) plan. We front loaded all of the baby induced sleep deprivation into a 3 year time frame.

AGMA was so exhausted one night that I didn’t hear my older son (who was 2 at the time) coughing and wheezing in the middle of the night. I didn’t hear Hubs get up. Nor did I hear the garage door open and close when Hubs took son to the emergency room. Nor did I hear them return from the emergency room. I found out about it all the next morning.

Oops…

By the time the kids are old enough to sleep solidly through the night, your sleep cycle is so mangled that you wake up in the middle of the night for no reason.

This lasts until they become teenagers and start going out on the weekends with friends. Now you can’t sleep because you have to stay up to wait for them to come home. This was pre-cell phone tracking. We used to have to depend on them finding a landline to get in touch with us if they were going to be late.

Which they never could seem to find.

So when they finally leave home (assuming they ever do leave home) for college or to live on their own, you are sad. Really. But you think that you will be able to finally get a good night’s sleep.

Nope.

What time is it kids?

“It’s time for perimenopause and menopause!”

Now AGMA’s waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Or at a minimum, kicking off all of the covers to try to cool down. Then waking up an hour later to put the covers back on because I’m cold. Over and over. And over.

This went on for 6 years until the plumbing finally turned off.

TMI?

But at this point, sleeping though the night now was being thwarted by modern technology. WTF?

Those damned blue light screens… On your TV, laptop, phone and tablet. Google “how blue light affects sleep”. We do a number on our brain when we stare at those things in the evening.

It interrupts our Circadian rhythm. Not a good thing.

And as long as we’re talking about interruptions, Hubs doesn’t help AGMA’s sleep issues.

I’m an early to bed, early to rise type of gal. He’s a late to bed, late to rise kinda guy. So every night at 1:30 AM, AGMA’s roused by his bathroom ritual. And him feeding the cats.

But AGMA being AGMA, and needing her beauty sleep to keep me from being a raging bitch, has found some solutions.

Friends and family are truly thankful.

I take some natural sleep aids (Holy Basil and Tryptophan) that are non-habit forming and pretty effective. On rare occasions, I take a big pharma sleep aid if I have a long run the next day or am on an international flight, and really need to get a good night’s sleep.

AGMA bought an eye mask and ear plugs. Presto! Hubs doesn’t wake me up anymore when he comes to bed. I’m like Sgt Schultz… I hear nothing. I see nothing. I just hope our smoke alarm doesn’t go off in the middle of the night.

I started running. On run days, I sleep soooo much better at night.

AGMA needs to get better about the blue light stuff. My phone and my tablet both have those blue light filters that you can put on the the evening, but I don’t use them enough.

I still get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but because of my running or natural sleep aids, I go right back to sleep when I get back in bed. Most nights.

And then tRump became president.

AGMA’s still trying to figure out how to get around the nightmares that one’s causing.

Is it 2020 yet?

The Eternal Optimist

Image

The phrase “sleeping on an international flight” is an oxymoron.  Like honest politician.  There’s no such thing.  At least for me.

Let me start by saying, I know that I’m extremely fortunate.  I’ve been able to travel across the Atlantic 16 times in the past 12 years for vacations.  Awesome!  But the sum total of sleep I’ve had in the air on all those trips is around 35 hours.  Total.  Not only do I look nasty and smell “fragrant” when I get to my final destination, but I’m cranky.  Because I’m tired.  Sometimes really cranky.  My husband will vouch for this.

Most international flights leave at night and get you to your destination early in the morning.  I don’t like this.  I want to leave at noon so I don’t have to be wide awake all by myself.  My husband sometimes falls asleep before the plane takes off.  Bastard.

International flights are the last remaining habitat of that almost extinct species – free airplane food.  They feed everybody dinner about an hour after reaching the mystical, magical “cruising altitude”.  Like sometimes at 11 PM.  The airlines are wiley in this…  They know that, like cats, airline passengers will sleep when their tummies are full.  The cabin lights dim.  All gets quiet.  That’s when I start my own version of “Walking Dead”.

So now it’s midnight and I’ve been up since 5 AM the previous morning doing the stuff that you have to do before you go away for 2 weeks.  I’m tired – damned tired.  Like Sally Bowles in Cabaret, I think “Maybe this time….”    I walk up and down the dark aisles, lit dimly by the light of an occasional video screen.  And I see a sea of people before me, representing all nationalities, races, religions – blissfully snoozing.  A beautiful cross section of humanity.  But at the moment, I hate them all.  I’m wide awake.

Working against me is that my territory for sleeping is a seat designed more for folks from the Lolllipop League.  In the good old days before the bust, you could sometimes snag a whole row of middle seats and pretend you were in first class by actually lying down.  Usually with the folded up arm rests prodding and poking sensitive areas.  But you could actually almost stretch out and get parallel to the ground.  Or water.  This occasionally worked for me.. I would sleep for a couple of hours   But empty rows don’t happen anymore.  I’ve had to lower my expectations.  Now, one empty seat next to me will wash waves of excitement over me.

I’ve tried over the counter sleeping aids, pharma sleeping aids, health food store sleeping aids, drinking electrolytes and massive amounts of water (too many trips to the loo…), counting sheep, meditation, listening to calming music, pre-trip sleep deprivation, compression socks, soft jammies and most combinations of the above.  You get the picture.  I’m a mess on long flights.

So I now just accept that I am gong to feel like crap for the the first couple of days of an international trip.  And not whine about it.  At least, not much.  I think I’ve said before, I’m a slow learner…  I’ve decided that it’s totally worth 18 to 24 hours of no sleep to be able to see and hear and taste amazing things, meet amazing people, do amazing things.

But like a Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, hope springs eternal.

Maybe next time!