Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perchance to Sleep

"To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there's the rub."
Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)
I know that Shakespeare, through Hamlet, said "perchance to dream," but I'm changing dream to sleep for this post. Sorry, Will.

There was a time when Sue and I went to bed together and got up together, more or less anyway. We were young. Now we are not so young, and there is a huge discrepancy in our sleep patterns.

This is a function of aging and how it differs from person to person.

Just last weekend, I couldn't stay in bed for as much as 6 hours. This is pretty well my new normal. Sometimes, it's less than 6 hours, and infrequently it is more than that. I become almost ebullient if I manage close to 7 hours and nigh unto ecstatic on those extremely rare occasions when I get close to 8 hours, which I think may have happened once in the past 6 months.

Meanwhile, Sue was gone for almost 12 hours on that same night (and on into day) — twice as long. While this is not quite the norm, something approximating 10 hours is pretty well what the pretty lady requires. She seems to need this much sleep and will go to bed totally spent at 9PM after having slept for 10 hours the night before.

As tired as I might be, I do try to stay up until 11 o'clock because I would rather not get up before 5AM. If I'm doing well, I will get my 6 hours and only 6 hours of sleep and and that is with the aid of a pill. If I don't take the pill, I will most likely manage to go to sleep but I find myself tossing and turning with increasing fury until I heave my exasperated self out of bed after only a few hours sleep.

Just last night I was up 2 hours later than the good woman, and just this morning, I was up 2 hours earlier. It's crazy-making I tell ya.

And so it is that I curl up in my recliner most afternoons. Now, you might say that this spoils my nights sleep, but I protest that his cannot be the case. For one thing, I do not always manage to nap, and for another thing, my naps, should I manage to drift off, almost invariably last for 20 minutes or less — usually less. That should really not be the cause of me existing on so little nighttime sleep, especially considering that 20 minutes is pretty well the max.

I am pretty certain of this 20 minute duration because I keep my eye on the clock — when I hit the recliner and when I rouse. Frequently, as I begin to find myself succumbing to drowsiness, I will think to look at the clock a second time before nodding off. Once again, I can confirm that 20 minutes is pretty well the max. In fact, my total time in the recliner yesterday was 17 minutes, which, obviously, included whatever amount of time it took me to nod off and then to wake up enough to think of checking the clock again.

A curious thing frequently overtakes me in my easy chair; I often see faces. These faces are very clear and are always people whom I don't know and, to my knowledge, have never laid eyes upon. The odd thing about seeing these faces so clearly, in addition to the fact that I don't know these people, is that I cannot ordinarily call clear images to my imagination when I am awake. So, seeing these faces kind of wakes me from my drowsiness because I find them interesting, but as soon as I become aware, they quickly fade. Frustrating.

I really have no clue as to how and why the faces work. On on occasion, they moved so quickly from one to another that it was like cards being flipped quickly. Mind you, it has only happened once like that, but I frequently see one or two faces of people who are strangers to me.

So, you can see that even my so-called naps are rather disturbed. Indeed, if I feel that I truly require a few minutes of unbroken napping, I must roll onto my side, for I only seem to see the faces when I'm on my back. Also, if I stay on my back I tend to keep waking myself with snores and sometimes drools.

This is our sleep story: mine and Sue's. We have most certainly gone in opposite directions. Oddly enough, we are in somewhat the same predicament as each other. Neither of us can get enough sleep: she because even 10 hours barely does it for her, and me because no matter what, I simply can seldom sleep past 6 hours — or 6 hours + 20 minutes, if you insist, on a good day.


Country Gal said...

Oh I hear you on this . I have had insomnia for years when I reached 40 which is when I started the change of life and I now have to take sleeping pills to stay asleep and they don't always work . If I dont take them I could stay up 24/7 and then become ill from it ! and napping or nodding off as we call it well I get so far and then I wake every time and that is it . Papa here works during the week and his job can get hectic and stressful and he sleeps good like a log any time and anywhere to lol . I think our brains just wont turn off when we try to sleep that's what my problem is I used to have very strange dreams well more like thoughts as dream stage you need to hit the rem sleep for that and that is impossible for me I feel ! The brain is a complex yet interesting thing ! Hope you get a good nap in today with this crappy weather ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

Linda Kay said...

Sorry for your frustration with sleeping. My hubby and me go to bed around 10:30, get up at 6:30 (with the alarm) to take the dogs out and feed them. That is pretty much our usual routine, and I'm blessed to be able to sleep through the night (except maybe for a quick potty break). Got to exercise, I think that's part of the secret. If I don't get any exercise during the day, the night is a bit more restless. Good luck on that sleep pattern. Nothing wrong with a 20 minute nap, no matter how much you sleep during the night.

TexWisGirl said...

i'm with sue - i could sleep 10-12 hours a night - if my dogs would allow it. usually they get me up several times to do the in/out routine. then my first light, get me up, again, (along with whistling ducks and horses to feed).

sorry about your lack of rest, though. the faces are very interesting!

Shammickite said...

Perhaps those faces are people who you encountered during the recent past... nobody you know, but people who passed you on the street, or were behind you at the grocery checkout! The mind works in funny ways. last night I had a dream where I met someone from my past who said she recognised me, but I didn't know her, although the face was familiar..... but now I can't remember the face to try and remember who she was, weird eh?

Kerry said...

Those faces are a spooky thought.I wonder what that's all about? Mysterious!
I have noticed that my sleep is lighter and more easily disturbed as I age. I can't recall sleeping for 12 hours in a very long time, but 6 isn't enough.

Unknown said...

those faces remind me of the music, mostly from the 40s, that I hear, can<t stop and can<t control. It<s not unpleasant, it<s just not manageable. Sometimes iT<s dance music, sometimes choral music, but the worst is when I get marching bands. I always march to marching bands. So you have my sympathy, and my offer to trade for a week or so.

Mage said...

Sleep indeed. See, you have us all stirred up. I toss and turn and get up often during the night if I get no aerobic exercise of any sort. Walking or swimming get me 7 1/2 hours with only a little waking. Lots of fresh air at night puts me out totally. George is like Sue. Ten hours is him he sets the alarm for 0530. :)

troutbirder said...

Mmmmm I've always been early to bed early to rise and she just the opposite. Im not sure how in spite of we managed children...

KGMom said...

AC--somewhat a similar experience in our house. Now that we are retired, my husband and I find we have very different sleep patterns (except for falling asleep during the evening news...).
He is generally in bed AND asleep by 11 p.m. I on the other hand putter, compute, read FB, and generally stay awake. I finally wind down anywhere between midnight and 1 a.m. and IF I AM LUCKY go right to sleep. But some nights, that's not what happens.
I have recently had a medication change, and the instructions indicate a possible side effect is insomnia or sleep disturbance. You can imagine my reaction--OH GREAT, just what I need.

KGMom said...

As for seeing things (in your case faces) as you fall asleep or are asleep--I too "see" things. In my case, patterns multi-colored usually in a two color combo. Swirling shapes and designs, very geometric. Rather like fractals.
Immediately after somewhat extensive surgery I had late this summer (cardiac ablation lasting 6 hours), those images changes for a day or two. Instead of swirling multi-colored shapes, I see what looked like viscous liquid flowing--and it was deep reddish-brown, like blood.
HUH! What does one make of such "visions"? In another age, we may have been called visionaries.

Tabor said...

Many nights my husband is up another hour watching football and he always sleeps about 1-2 hours later than me no matter what time he goes to bed. I try to get a minimum of 6 hours and am very happy to get 7.5 which is my norm when I take melatonin. If I don't take a supplement or a sleep aid I am up in 3 to 4 hours and hung-over all day. I do not mind our varied sleep patterns except I have to be so quiet in the mornings when I really would like to start cleaning!

EG CameraGirl said...

The faces are interesting but I have no idea what they mean.

Some nights I sleep very well up to nine hours, but others I toss and turn so I pick up a book and read till I need to sleep again. Some days an afternoon feels sooooo good! And I usually nap for only 20 minutes like you.

Mara said...

I am so glad I have managed to get some sort of sleep back again. With the help of painkillers and a hot water bottle mind, but I will try and get it whatever way I can!

Hope your sleep will improve, even if only by an hour!