My kingdom for a good night’s rest

I’ve brushed my teeth, washed my face, changed into my jammies, and I am ready to hit the hay. Unfortunately, the best part of my night’s rest is this brief period of anticipation of it, because the actual fact of it is anything but restful.

To start with, I am the world’s lightest sleeper and have been all my life. Any noise inside or outside the house, any change in light or temperature in my room, and any number of biological cues will yank me out of a delta pattern in less than a heartbeat. Add to that a pair of restless little dogs who have trouble sharing one side of the bed gracefully and regularly rotate positions from above the covers to below the covers with copious yawns, stretches and vigorous ear flaps to mark the transition, and that delta pattern becomes even more elusive.

Dogs in bed

A pair of startled bed bugs gives me the stink-eye.

Reggie also has a trick of curling up nicely just at the edge of the covers at the beginning of the night, almost an arm’s length away from me, but working her way around so that her butt is right in my face by morning. Rudy, meanwhile, sleeps hard up against my stomach if I’m lying on my right side, and scoots over against my back when I roll over to my left side, which means that after a couple of turns, I’m clinging to the left edge of the bed and afraid to roll back over for fear of crushing him. And then, of course, it’s a virtual certainty that one or the other of them will need an o’dark-thirty bio break, so I have to get up and let them out and take my own break as well. On rainy or snowy nights, paws must be cleaned off before they get back on the bed.

My sleep troubles are not entirely or even mostly the dogs’ fault, though, and I’m not going to kick them out of bed because I like knowing where they are all night long and being able to take care of them immediately if they need anything (they’ve both had some pretty scary middle-of-the-night scenes, mostly involving inappropriate voiding of bodily fluids). No, my issues with the sandman are multiple, varied and pretty much intractable. I doubt that I will ever enjoy uninterrupted oblivion for an entire night without the help of strong drugs, and I’m not about to go that route.

I envy people who sleep soundly and dream without tossing and turning and tracking the hours one by one all night long. My typical night is pretty much just a series of quick naps, and I sleep the hardest, when I sleep, in the hour before the alarm rings. Nature can be so cruel.

But just this moment, when the dogs are both curled up quietly on their side of the bed and I’m starting to yawn, sleep looks both attractive and attainable. I’m going to go enjoy that illusion for a few more minutes.


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