Tales of an insomniac

I’ve always been a light sleeper, a state which I ascribe to having shared a room with my little sister for a dozen years growing up. My sister had tonsil problems all through her childhood, and that or maybe undiagnosed allergies or something made her a pretty loud sleeper. She snored, talked in her sleep, and worst of all, would stop breathing sometimes – not for long, just long enough that it was painful to listen to her irregular breath patterns. So I got used to being awoken in the middle of the night by a particularly loud snort or something, and stage-whispering “Turn. OVER!” until it filtered into sistersquab’s sleep-addled brain and she’d roll over and temporarily breath easy once more.

This state of affairs never particularly bothered me, and since I also developed the ability to go back to sleep pretty much at will, I never felt like I was missing out on too much sleep or anything. In fact, it can come in handy: I rarely need an alarm clock – I just set my “inner alarm” and I can make myself get up whenever I have to. And I’m excellent at catnapping: I’ve been known to sleep through take off and landing of a 747, to take a little snooze in the student union with people milling all around, to fall asleep on any car ride that lasts longer than 20 minutes … I’m a sleeper. I like sleeping, and I do it well.

Unless. There’s a vicious strain of insomnia in my family, particularly on my Dad’s side. He regularly suffers bouts of unsleepitude, as does my paternal grandmother. And while my early years were untainted by this horrid tendency, I find that the older I get, the easier it is for my sleep to be disrupted for the night. Sometimes I do it to myself, drinking too much coffee late in the day, or electing to read a particularly thrilling novel right before I go to bed. I don’t worry too much about that, since I know how to fix it. But other times, and particularly recently, I just get kind of wired for no reason, and can’t go to sleep. It isn’t necessarily stress (though that doesn’t help) – I just can’t always wind down. I’ll lie in bed, eyes wide open, trying to relax, let my mind wander … and then eventually I just get too pissy and get up, close the door so I don’t bother Mr. Squab, and watch crappy late-night television or read until I can’t keep my eyes open any more, usually in the wee hours of the morning.

Pregnancy, of course, just makes any sleeping issues you already have a lot worse. I haven’t had what I’d consider a comfortable night’s sleep in months, and as Hoss gets bigger, the discomfort does, too. Most nights I just readjust my position and go back to sleep, but there are SOME nights where the fates, mother nature, and various deities are clearly out to get you. I had one of those nights last night. We went to bed at our regular time, around 11:30 pm. I was feeling tired, like I’d be able to go to sleep pretty easily. The only irritation was that our upstairs neighbors had some loudish music on (a lot of bass and drums), so I brought my iPod to bed to shut out that noise with some soothing tuneage of my own.

Only it didn’t shut it out. I could hear the thumpa thumpa of the drums even through my patented “sleepy mix.” And then Mr. Squab, who was particularly tired after a long day and a taxing volleyball game, started snoring. Usually I can use the same technique on him that I perfected on my sister (“Turn. OVER.”) but last night that was just not cutting it. No matter how he was positioned, the snores rang out loud and clear. After turning up my iPod loud enough to give me a headache (hello, hearing loss!), I said a mental “Fuck it” and got up, took my pillows, and hied me to the living room sofa to sleep there.

This, of course, made me a prime target for the cats (who are shut out of the bedroom at night). Boy, were they ever excited to have me out there! At night! With no lights on! Wheeeee! Oscar settled down pretty quickly in the nook of my legs and went to sleep, but Max, our problem-child kitty, drove me insane. The wandering, and the meowing, and the licking and nuzzling and GOOD GOD, CAT, JUST SHUT UP AND SETTLE DOWN!!! Jesus. I think we were all finally sleeping, kind of, by about 2:00 am. And Max didn’t start whining for his breakfast until 5:30 or so, so it could have been worse. And while the couch is kind of uncomfortable and made me sleep all funny so my back and neck have been hurting all day, it was better than a hide-a-bed or something. And heck, this is all grist for the mill once the baby comes, right? I mean, I’m supposed to get used to sleep deprivation, aren’t I?

BUT STILL. I was in a pretty goddamn pissy mood this morning when I got up. And if those cats do ONE thing to bug me tonight … well, let’s just say there will be spray bottles involved, and my aim only gets more accurate with rage.

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