Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sleeping with Others...

Every once in awhile it strikes me as odd the ways in which humans sleep.  

I only had one sibling growing up, and I had my own bedroom.  My grandparents were old fashioned and slept in the same room but in separate beds. 

In boot camp and in Hogwarts people sleep many to a room in barracks or dorms. 

In Call the Midwife, you see several scenarios where there are eight to ten in a room.

My mother and father had separate bedrooms because my mother couldn't sleep with my father's snoring. 

What is it in us that dictates the amount of personal space one does or doesn't need while sleeping?

Model homes these days have large master suites for the parents to retreat into, but tiny bedrooms for the kids, often making other spaces in the house more welcoming for children to spend their waking hours (although rarely, it seems, out doors)

Often at night, we will fall asleep spooned and entwined only to end up at opposite sides of the bed with our backs to each other. Usually we still have some body part touching, but not always. 

Then there is the issue of timing. Do you have to go to bed at the same time? Do you have to fall asleep at the same time?

Many times when I am trying to fall asleep, I wonder about my grandparents. There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily and Marshall try out separate beds after seeing two beds at Robin's boyfriend's apartment. 

Somehow I can't help but think that sleeping in separate beds, or even separate rooms for your family is a very first world phenomena. 

When I sleep - when I am not up typing a blog entry with insomnia- I can sleep. Noise, light, other people moving... none of that seems to bother me when I sleep, and often won't necessarily keep me awake. 

My wife, on the other hand, can hear the sink drip from two apartments below us. With her ear plugs in.  Well, not really with her ear plugs in.. that merely brings her hearing into normal range. And she can't sleep. Guy outside collecting cans.  Nope. Can't sleep.  Sometimes even the girl next door snoring keeps her awake. Or worse. Wakes her. 

Not me. I am oblivious. 

But how we sleep and how we fall asleep and wake truly matters and influences our demeanour. Our mood. Our capacity to face the day and any challenges it might bring. We have a plethora of alarm clocks now to help influence that. One mimics sunlight by slowly brightening the room as it wakes you. My nephew just got a device that he wears on his wrist that monitors his biorhythms on an ongoing basis and it supposedly wakes him with vibration after he has slept the ideal amount of time. 

It has been a long time since I have needed to sleep with an alarm clock - although my wife's alarm clock does go off every weekday morning - and I think my body has found its own rhythms. When I was single, I had a period where I slept primarily from 1-5 each day - both am and pm.  It was what I needed and when I needed it, and I was fortunate enough in my schedule then to have the flexibility to meet those needs. 

Often my wife and I will take an afternoon nap when she comes home. Sometimes these are short snoozes, and sometimes deep sleep. And so sometimes, at 1 am, I find myself awake. 

Thinking about sleep.... 

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