I love travel. I love seeing new places and experiencing new ways of living on this planet. But being on a flight for 10 hours is not my favorite.
As I’ve documented several times in several ways here before, I am not a great sleeper. I want to be. I really do. I just can’t seem to make it work for me. And in an already cramped economy seat after the person in front of me has fully reclined their seat so their head is in my lap and I can smell their shampoo, my ability to sleep disappears completely. Still, in a desperate attempt to break tradition and at last fall asleep on a flight, I drank my red wine, took some melatonin, and donned my Airpods Max noise canceling headphones. Rather than feeling sleepy, though, I find myself air drumming along the beat in my ears. No bueno, but at least I am burning calories.
I am halfway into this flight from Denver to Munich en route to Rome and I am suddenly aware of what a pampered house pet I am. I keep telling myself I can survive another 5 hours, but my tush is debating the veracity of my forced assertion. And there is only so much time you can spend wandering the aisles in the dark, tripping over outstretched limbs and fallen faux pillows before you begin to look like an anxious toddler or a junkie struggling through rehab.
Perhaps now would be a good time for a haiku:
Too broke for business
Packed in coach like a sardine
Sleep, please find me soon!
The siren song of Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, and pizza will pull me through tomorrow’s exhaustion, and then perhaps tomorrow night I shall at last get some rest. Until then, I shall daydream about sleep. That counts, right?
It has come to my attention that the post I wrote months ago about my husband’s sleeping habits made him feel a bit called out. Let me first state that was not my intention at all. People who are included in my blog posts often think the blog posts are about them. Ninety-five percent of the time, this is untrue. Oddly enough, my blogs are usually about me or my opinions. I may mention other people, but not because I am calling them out. They are part of my story. They are not THE story. Anyhoo, my sweet spouse felt a little seen about my post regarding the fact that he can sleep anywhere while I, in fact, cannot. So, I have resolved to make this better.
In case you think, after reading that post, that I was calling my husband out for his sleeping gift, I thought I would share this little tidbit from our house. My husband is not the only one who sleeps in odd positions on the floor. While I still struggle to sleep on many nights in my comfortable Sleep Number bed with my twin down comforter, this family member, like my husband, has zero problem sleeping:
To summarize, I did not write about my husband’s fall-apart-on-the-floor-due-to-exhaustion sleeping habits because I was calling him out. I wrote about them because, as I stated in my earlier post, I am jealous and wish I could sleep like him. Or our dog. Or both of them.
If I could sleep anywhere, including on my stomach on the living room floor with my feet out in a corgi sploot, I would. Ain’t no shame in that.
My husband, god bless him, can sleep anywhere. Anywhere. This simultaneously surprises, amuses, and, if I’m being honest, annoys me. I’ve never been a great sleeper. Wait. I take that back. For a while in my mid-20s I was a great sleeper. I could sleep for 12 hours straight. Then I learned I had thyroid disease. As soon as I was properly medicated, I was right back to not being a great sleeper. But my husband? Damn. He could win a gold medal.
It’s 10:43 pm at this moment, and this is my husband.
The man is asleep on his belly on the floor. And we have hardwood floors and this thin rug is covering them. How is this even possible? He’s 51, not 6. Looking at this hurts my neck. I don’t understand this behavior. I mean, I’m tired. I’m tired all the time. I just don’t sleep well. But this wonderful man has the gall to sleep like this in my presence. My favorite is when he sleeps on his back with one knee bent up and his other leg crossed over his bent knee. So many questions about how you fall asleep like that.
He used to take the light rail to work every day. One evening, he was late coming home. Turns out he fell asleep on the train and no one woke him up when they reached the last stop, which was his. The train went back into its siding to wait for its next run, and that is where he finally woke up, when the train was out of service and he had to press the button to open the doors and walk an extra distance back to the boarding platform to exit. Two things about this baffle me. First, how did he not realize the train had stopped and everyone else was getting off? How did he sleep through that? Second, what kind of trust do you have to have in humanity to fall asleep on a public train? I have never been able to sleep in public. I don’t trust people enough to be that vulnerable around them on purpose. I’m stuck in an airport overnight? I will sleep when I get home. No way am I leaving my bag unattended. People are sketchy.
Lest you think I am over exaggerating or being unkind about these sleep habits, I will share this selection of photos. This is not an isolated incident. And he’s got our kids sleeping like this. Our dogs too. Whatever strange magic this is, I am so sorry I missed out on it because everyone in my house is asleep, except for me.
I do sleep, but there are a number of things that have to be in place. It’s got to be cold in the room, so cold my nose needs a warmer. I have to be covered up with layers, preferably weighted. There must be no part of me outside of the covers, except my face, and my feet have to be warm. A sleep mask helps because I wake up at the slightest bit of light. And there must be noise. I can’t sleep in a silent room, so I need ambient noise, a fan, ocean sounds, something like that. Oh, and I need something soft. A stuffed animal works. Yet, even with all this in place, I still don’t sleep as well as the rest of my family. And if my doctor tells me one more damn time to wear my blue light glasses, I may lose it. I wear the glasses. They haven’t turned me into Sleeping Beauty yet.
Come to think of it, though, in my next life, I would like to come back as Sleeping Beauty. And if some stupid prince comes along, he’d best keep on walking and look for the girl who is missing her shoe or the one who lives with seven small men. This girl needs her rest.
When my husband and I were first together, we shared a full size bed, and we were totally happy with it. Young love, am I right? When we bought our first house, though, we upgraded to a queen size mattress because we were asserting our adulthood and buying a grown-up bed. When we bought our second house, we stayed with the queen size frame we had purchased, but bought a Sleep Number bed because I was pregnant and realized that I needed a softer bed. We would no longer have to argue about a mattress that was too firm for me but not firm enough for him, or so I thought. But when that bad wore out after ten years, I let hubby talk me into a memory foam mattress that showed up at our house like a big taquito. We cut the plastic off it and let it slowly unroll into a plain tortilla in square shape. Oh, how I hated that mattress. It was way too firm for me and made my hips fall asleep when I laid on my sides, which as a side sleeper was highly problematic. To fix my pins-and-needles hips, I got an egg crate topper, which he hated because he thought it was way too hot. So we went back to another queen size Sleep Number bed, hoping that would solve both my need for a softer bed and his need for a cooler bed.
And that bed was fine until we bought a bigger house. Then we decided we should get a king size bed to fit the bigger room. We agreed it had to be a Sleep Number bed, so that was good. But, twenty-five years into marriage, we had learned some things about each other. Other than the fact that we both want the bedroom to be cold year round, we are not similar sleepers. Steve is one large exothermic reaction who emanates heat. Like, you can feel it coming off his body under the covers. It’s like he’s melting. It’s spooky. He also doesn’t stay in one spot when he sleeps. He is expansive and likes to travel. And despite his complaining he is always too warm, he tends to move a lot in his sleep and take the covers with him. I sleep cold in every season except summer. To combat his cover stealing and stay warm, I sleep with extra blankets (yes, blankets, plural). I remain in one spot all night, rotating like a chicken on a rotisserie. Despite my taking up very little space, I want to be surrounded by a lot of it. I do not want to be crowded. Cuddling is for warming up for exactly three minutes on a cold January night. After that, I want to be left alone under my cozy covers in my space. You stay where you are.
We’d solved the space issues when we bought the king size bed. But now we had cover issues. The king size bed means Steve has even more room to move around, which means he can steal even more covers. So now I am cold all the time. For winter, we bought a dual side comforter, cooler for him and warmer for me, but you guessed it. He steals the warmer side and then complains he is too hot. And he only lets me have it on the bed for six months, and I need it to be there for nine.
Tonight we decided it is time to pull the emergency lever. We’re going full on Scandinavian, which is something Steve talked about doing after we spent a week in Norway in 2009. I ordered us each our own twin size, down comforter, lightweight for him, mid-weight for me. Hopefully this solves our temperature and cover thieving problems. If it works, I promise to give him all the credit for the solution I wanted no part of for 12 years because it involved more damn bedding. If it doesn’t, I hope he likes the queen sleeper sofa he recently got for his office because that is where he is headed, where he can spread out and steal all the covers he desires from his own self.
And if anyone mentions getting twin beds for our twin comforters and putting that ensemble in our bedroom ala I Love Lucy, I will lose my mind. I am finished analyzing, talking about, and problem solving sleep. I would just like to get some damn sleep already. Please. I’m begging.