By Traci Butterfield
There is really only one thing I ever miss about being single and living alone. Sleep. Plain and simple, eight solid hours of uninterrupted, restful sleep. Having the bed to myself and being able to spread out diagonally across the mattress, and hog all the blankets and pillows, and wake up on my own accord instead of to a blaring alarm clock on the weekends sounds like a little piece of heaven to me.
And unless I lose my hearing (a sacrifice I'm not willing to make), break up with my boyfriend (which even to me seems a bit drastic) or embrace the 1950's sometimes-tradition of sleeping in separate bedrooms, my nights of peaceful sleep are a thing of the past.
During the honeymoon phase of dating, the sleep sounds coming from my boyfriend didn't bother me. It was almost cute. But here I am, almost two years into our relationship, and due to the fact that we've both gained some weight and we've happily evolved to that "comfortable" part of our relationship, every sound that comes out of this man while he sleeps has become like nails on a chalkboard. The only good nights' sleep I get are when I kick him out to the guestroom and keep my bed to myself; which, as I'm sure you'll agree, isn't so great for our relationship.
Oh, how I envy those people - like my boyfriend - who can fall asleep fast and stay asleep through almost anything. I'll be the first to admit, I snore too. But since Jay is usually asleep before I've even pulled up the covers, it generally doesn't bother him...or so he says. Me on the other hand, I need some time for my brain to chill out and almost convince myself that it is time to sleep. If the TV is on anywhere in the house, I'm not sleeping. If a light is on in my sightline, I'm not sleeping. And above all, if my boyfriend has fallen asleep before me (which he almost always does), I'm not sleeping.
The sounds he makes are fascinating and sometimes I wonder how one person can make that kind of noise while in a state of "relaxation". It isn't just your typical snore; it's as if subconsciously, he is trying to out-snore himself. He gets progressively louder and louder. If he isn't sawing wood next to me, he's moaning or humming - yes, I said humming in some apparent attempt to get himself into some REM sleep and get my blood boiling. In some of my angrier moments, I have looked down at him and wondered, "Are you doing this just to tick me off?" And lately, he has started thrashing around in bed, flipping over flopping around and looking for a comfortable position; all the while, jarring me from any progress I've made in my own attempt to fall asleep.
I own 6 different types, sizes, and styles of earplugs.
I have a white-noise machine next to my pillow.
I have bulk supplies of Advil PM.
And I use all of these noise-blockers in conjunction with each other. But still, he keeps me up.
Last week I ordered a very expensive king-sized bed that is supposed to absorb the little earthquakes of his thrashing and should put some extra room between me and his nighttime symphony.
I am counting the minutes until it gets delivered.
Because the louder he gets, the angrier I get. Here I am in my quaint little house that I bought before I met him, with a sectional sofa (which was not designed for sleeping on unless you are a contortionist), and a futon (which is torture in its own right) in the guestroom that also houses his pet hedgehog (who, if you didn't know, is nocturnal); so it isn't like I have many alternative options for getting a little shut-eye. And even when I resign myself to go sleep on the futon and use the earplugs to block out the noise of the hedgehog, I am still angry at the fact that I am being driven out of my own room by his incessant noise.
Don't get me wrong, my sweet boyfriend feels awful about what he cannot control while he is sleeping. Many nights he offers to sleep in the other room and he always insists that I just wake him up if he is bothering me. But during my waking hours, I am rational enough to say that just isn't fair. It isn't his fault. In the middle of the night however, it takes every ounce of self-control I can muster not to wake him up and send him away, or take that pillow out from under his head and...well, you get the idea.
Jason's Nocturne in Zzzz
By Traci Butterfield