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