There was a time when I was a world-class sleeper. I would go to bed at midnight and I wouldn’t emerge from my darkened cave until noon the next day. Alarms couldn’t wake me up. Firetrucks couldn’t wake me up. If there were an Olympic event for sleeping, I would have won a gold. I am sleep woman. Hear me snore.
That was all, of course, before I became a mom. Once the kids arrived, so did the sleepless nights. There were years of sick nights, nightmares, monsters in the closets, monsters under the beds, and the really skinny monsters that lurked in the air conditioning vents. For some reason, I was always the one they would wake up when there was a problem. Maybe it’s because my bed was closest to the door. Or maybe it was the sign my husband slept with around his neck that said, “Don’t wake me. Wake mom.” Either way, I was the parent of choice. After 10 years of this, I became an extremely light sleeper. If someone scratched their nose in the next room, I was up.
The good news was, eventually the monsters all disappeared and the kids started sleeping through the night, and then they left the house altogether. The bad news was, after too many years of sleepus-interruptus I had become a terrible sleeper.
“How’d you sleep,” asked my well-rested husband one morning.
“Not so great.”
“How come?” he wondered.
“I woke up when you sighed at 3 a.m. and then I was up until 5.”
“When I sighed?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes. You sigh in your sleep. It woke me up.”
“Are you kidding me? My sigh woke you up? I sigh that loud?”
“No. But I heard it,” I complained. “And then I couldn’t get back to sleep.”
He shook his head. It was beginning to dawn on him that he was married to a sleep-freak. It wasn’t just the noises though. If he rolled over in the bed, I woke up. If he pulled up the covers, I woke up. If he breathed, I woke up. He was actually a pretty considerate bed partner. Unfortunately, I had the sleep patterns of a fruit fly.
Since he was stuck with me, though, he volunteered some suggestions to help me with my sleeping issues.
“I’m lactose intolerant?” I countered.
“Keep a pad of paper next to the bed?”
“I tried that,” I responded. “I wrote for an hour.”
“I found it interesting and read all night.”
He threw up his arms. “Sorry, Honey. I’ll try to blink quietly tonight.”
Finally, I consulted the sleep experts and learned that I was in a bad sleep habit. They said what I needed was a few nights of uninterrupted sleep to retrain my brain. I thought I probably needed a few years of uninterrupted sleep to retrain my brain. But I decided to take some steps to see if maybe I could turn my sleep issues around.
That night, I covered my eyes with a sleep mask, covered my head with a pillow, closed all the blinds and snuggled into bed. But at 3 a.m., I jerked awake to the sound of a buzzsaw nearby. It was so loud, it sounded like it was in the bedroom. And then I realized … it was.
“Hey.” I poked my husband, “You woke me up with your snoring.”
“No, I didn’t,” he said.
“Then what was it?”
“But you just said you weren’t snoring.” I replied.
“I wasn’t,” he said. “You were.”
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