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Most well-rested spouse

I often fantasize about being my husband.  Mostly at night.  As we crawl into bed.  His ability to fall asleep within moments of hitting the pillow leave me both mesmerized and deeply jealous.  If we were competing for Most Well-Rested Spouse, he would be crowned in jewels and I would be stuck fluffing pillows.

I love to sleep just as much as the next gal, but sleep doesn’t always come easy.  It takes me at least thirty minutes to join Peter in the magical land of Inception. Some nights it takes several hours.  When I asked Peter for his advice on how to hit the hay, he said:

“Try not to think about anything.”

Try not to think about anything? You’re joking, right?   When I close my eyes at night, a free-association circus explodes in my brain.  It generally starts with a recap of the day — my personal version of The Best of Cathleen’s Tuesday! All of my loose ends — unsent emails, unreturned calls, unpaid bills — twist and turn like scary balloon animals ready to pop.  From there, the bouncy ball of thoughts, theories, desires, shames and triumphs run the catwalk in my mind.  Some are brutal high school memories, like the disastrous Algebra exam I had to throw into the garbage because I couldn’t answer one question.  Or the time I sang ‘Zombie,’ by The Cranberries at my high school talent show.  For four whole minutes I was an out-of-tune Bono, pumping my fists and pleading for peace in Ireland. Other memories are random, like the pigeon I saw earlier in the day who looked both ways before he crossed the road.  Smart pigeon.

Having difficulty falling asleep has become so commonplace in my life that I’ve come to consider that special hour or so as me time.  Armed with a good book, I read to the soft, pink glow of my pig-shaped lamp, Carl.

Carl - My bedside companion

I’ve tried all the usual suspects over the years to help me sleep; melatonin, valerian, chamomile tea, Benadryl, etc.  They work to varying degrees of success but never consistently or thoroughly.  One recent night, I looked over at my sleeping husband and thought, “He’s on to something…” I started to mull over Peter’s method of, “not thinking.”

With the same careful consideration I gave to the street-crossing pigeon, I decided to observe and evaluate Peter’s behavior.

  • He wakes early and goes to the gym.
  • He doesn’t drink caffeine.
  • He keeps a to-do list tucked safely in his pocket that he checks off throughout the day.
  • He eats well and drinks plenty of water.

The evidence I collected was undeniable.  By the time he climbs into bed at night, he is physically and mentally satiated.  There’s nothing left to think about.  Smart Peter.

Tonight, when I close my eyes, I’m going to try and “not think about anything.”  But first, I need to hit the gym and turn off the coffee pot.  Oh, and I need to get back to my friend about plans tomorrow night.  Laundry…I can’t forget to do laundry.  Things are really starting to smell weird.

Okay, here’s the deal.  If Peter’s method doesn’t work tonight, I’ve got a full bottle of melatonin, a good book and a small, glowing pig.  Baby steps.

-Cathleen Carr

9 Responsesto “Most well-rested spouse”

  1. Linda says:

    I drink caffeine. I work out late in the day. I fall asleep fairly quickly every night. My husband is an insomniac and is very jealous of how easily I sleep.

  2. Sue C says:

    i am not one to talk as i use sleep aids near nightly, however, i do think it’s kinda cool to note that all the thoughts going on in your head as you fall asleep are like one big conversation with yourself. it’s like a conversation you’ve been waiting to have all day- checking in on your mental to- do list, remarking on a smart pidgeon, processing the day- but you’ve most likely been too busy to have that time to yourself.

    • cathleen carr says:

      Hi Sue! It’s true…the long talk with myself. But, as you know, I talk way too much during the day so you can imagine how much I have to say to myself at night. Do you still get to have your self chat with sleep aids?

  3. maria says:

    I can totally relate to this post. My husband always falls asleep the minute he hits the pillow and I am left listening to his heavy breathing as a reminder of my insomnia. He says its mind over matter–breathe heavily when you are ready to sleep and (he claims) you will be sleeping very soon.

    A funny story about this, though. When we first got married, I had to get used to listening to my husband sleep (and snore) while I was still very much awake. I would keep myself busy reading a good book or watching TV. But, one night, as I was lying awake, my husband rolled over and said, in his sleep, “Mmm-hmm…I’m listening.” (Needless to say, I was not talking). We were cracking up the next morning!

    • cathleen carr says:

      That’s hilarious! Peter did something similar when we first started having sleep-overs. He said, “I’m going to put your clothes on some random website.” I didn’t know he was sleep talking and was like, “WHAT?” He woke up and was really embarrassed. We laughed and laughed like you guys did…

  4. fd says:

    I USED to be like you. And now I’m like him. I cannot for the life of me explain how it came about. I do know that my sleep is much more restful when I avoid caffeine after about 3pm and I feel much more ready to go to bed at midnight than if I’ve had caffeine later on. Exercise has no impact. Sometimes I find it helpful not to plan or think about the next day at all anywhere near bedtime (contrary to all advice). Other times, the more stressed I am by my to-do list, the faster I go to sleep and more enthusiastically I embrace bedtime because its such an escape. Often the longer it takes me to get to sleep, the faster I wake up the next morning; no need for a snooze button. How are you and Peter in the mornings?

  5. Kristina Omohundro says:

    I’m forwarding this to my ex-boyfriend, who is now a very good friend, who I just had lunch with, who can’t get to sleep. At least as we all lie awake at night with monkey mind (what they call it in yoga) we can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone :)

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