Friday, August 17, 2007

Musing on Sleep

As reflected in a recent post, sleep is not an easy nor particularly restful thing for me. It is true that the truly deep exhaustion I felt last year around this time is not as present. As I am about to head to Dance New England, I hope that bone tired feeling stays at bay.

I have a tendency to have vivid and numerous dreams which leave me feeling as drained upon waking as I did when I slipped underneath the covers and sidled up to TGF. It is hard for me to remember when I last slept hard enough for days in a row that I do not remember waking up, albeit briefly, at least 3 times a night which is more the norm. Further complicating "restorative sleep" as Lindsay likes to call it in those damn commercials is the fact that a selection of cats like to cuddle up to me. Often I have Atticus followed by Gemma sleeping between my legs and the other hunkered against my butt or calves.

When the recent stress is figured in, it's rather amazing I am functional at all. Keeping all of this in mind, I wondered if I had lost my mind when I booked a red eye flight to the east coast. I spent days telling myself if I can sleep on the plane all will be good. However that was a silly thing since I absolutely cannot sleep well in a moving vehicle, especially if I am not horizontal. Clearly this was another matter of deluding myself "for the greater good" and hoping that I could trick myself into something that is against my nature.

The odds were against me. Only if I can the three seats across so I can curl up (this is where being short comes in handy) do I really sleep anything like soundly on a plane. The seat I had about 24 hours ago was on the aisle of the center 3 seats next to a man who was wearing so much cheap cologne I had a headache which came and went for two hours. Then there were all the chatter in my head: the things I had forgotten to bring; worry over the move; could I find a cheap air mattress since I decided not bring mine; would Adrienne have a sleep bag I could borrow; what the hell was Adrienne's new address anyways; and so on ad infinitum. In an attempt to get some napping in I used the strategy TGF employs regularly - the droning sound of the television. I snagged the headphones and plugged into some movie with Richard Gere about a scam job involving a book about Howard Hughes.

I reflected again how a friend is still peeved about a now ex-lover who wanted to sleep all night long in each other's arms. It surely is an overly romantic vision of love but also a terrible thing to demand of someone when it means they will sleep horribly. Personally I might have strangled the person for suggesting it as a real versus in a "wouldn't it be kinda fun to do that thing they show in the movies but never really happens" way. Not only can I not deeply fall asleep in any position remotely like sitting up, but I cannot if I am in someone's arms, or even facing them! Actually it goes deeper than that - I have turn away completely, I can't even face their back. Eventually, without fail I have to face "out", away from my lover. It is like an intrinsic escape plan sort of response that has been with me for as long as I can remember. Even when sleeping alone I face out. Except for that one apartment where the long side of the bed was against exposed brick and I loved the feel of the brick against my bare feet as I slept positioned much like a right angle bracket for a shelf.

Some people can sleep anywhere and feel rested. Some can "cat" nap easily, almost like hypnotizing themselves and sleep for some predetermined time. Many days I envy those people. But I never envy those who think sleeping in their lover's arms all night is love personified.


Jbeeky said...

I remember red eyes. Sleep is an elusive parter for me as well, so I am feeling you! BTW, my son turned to me and said, "Ma, it's wicked hot today!" Ahhhh, Mass. Have fun and more fun!

dykewife said...

i can sleep sitting up, but it tends to be very light and not very restful with frequent times of stirring.

i also can't sleep "wrapped in someone's arms" either. i get far too warm. i end up sweating buckets and getting congested (i don't know why the two go along together but they do). i hate the sound of someone breathing in my ear. and facing? just ewww...i hate breathing already breathed air, it's warm and stale. i fall asleep on my left side, facing away because i always sleep on the right hand side of the bed. always.

thanks to paxil, i get extremely vivid dreams. they're so real that i'm frequently left with the feelings from the dreams when i wake up. i also talk a lot in my sleep. boy thinks that part is hilarious.

i hope your trip is good and you eventually get sleep.

wen said...

hello from someone else who can't sleep on planes. i'm just too tall and bony to fit properly and well, with all the headache-inducing cologne etc (i see you get the scent headache too) it's pretty miserable.

here's hoping your trip goes well! (and that your return flight is in the day) :)

heather said...

good luck on your trip! and in catching some peaceful z's wherever your little head lands.

Jennie said...

(chuckle) Yes, I am still peeved. And I also caught hell for sleeping facing away. Could. not. win!

I used to be able to sleep anywhere. Not quite as true now, but I did manage to nap a bit on my way to Albany in April, and was grateful.

Sorry about the cologne. That is SO annoying.

Jbeeky said...

Thinking of you and hoping you are having a wonderful time in Maine! I have been jonsing for New England ever since I got back!