Mar 10, 2010

Day 15: 0 snoozes

This morning I realized the brilliance of setting up the coffee maker next to the bed. It starts brewing 8 minutes before my alarm goes off, and is actually the thing that wakes me up. Then I lie there knowing that I'm totally fine to go back to sleep because my alarm will go off in about 7 minutes. It's sort of like a substitute snooze - my coffee maker is the methadone to my snooze button's heroin.

On a completely unrelated note, my post from day 13 made a footnote mention of my bizarre sleep system, and I thought now is as good a time as any to talk about it, and then everyone can meet Mabel.

When I was a kid, I had a very hard time falling asleep. When bed-time rolled around, I'd read for a bit 'til my parents told me "lights out", then I'd toss and turn for at least half an hour, usually more, before I finally conked out. This went on for a very long time, well into my teens (not the lights out thing though). Part of the problem was that I couldn't stop my mind from racing, so I couldn't relax. For years I listened to music to distract me - it got to a point where I couldn't sleep without some sort of music to help me along. I still do this on occasion, I'll get to that in a bit.

The other part of the problem was that I just couldn't get comfortable. In my waking hours, I'm a pretty restless guy. I'm fidgety, I can't bear to sit in one place for more than twenty minutes, I twiddle my thumbs and drum my fingers, play drums on my belly - I just can't seem to sit stilla. This carries over into bed as well. I've always had a very hard time getting comfortable while trying to fall asleep. It's things like which side to lay on, where to put my arms. At some point along the road, I figured out a very comfortable way to sleep, and became quite dependent on it. Also, I've finely tuned it so that I can fall asleep within minutes of closing my eyes.

It'll be kind of hard to describe this properly, but with a combination of words and photos I'll try. Here's a composite diagram I put together - GIS didn't turn up any exact pictures of what I'm trying to show, can you imagine that?

The half-fetal/half-straight leg position (A) is a crucial first, and is easy to pull off pretty much anywhere, with the exception of some couches with no depth or that are too short. I mean it with that last bit, I can't sleep on a love seat that makes me curl BOTH legs - it has to be one straight, one curled.

The surface I'm on has to be pretty soft (B). I'm very susceptible to the princess and the pea effect - even the slightest ridge from a spring poking up is enough to keep me up all night. I use a foam covering that resembles sound-proofing wall covering, with all the little "egg-carton" ridges.

I sleep somewhere between my side and my front. I guess it's mostly my front, but I need to lean my torso at 30-45ยบ from the plane of the bed, and that's where Mabel comes in (C).
I used to use a second pillow for this, until the wifey-poo bought me this giant ridiculous teddy bear to use instead. She (the bear) is precisely one thousand times better than a pillow because she's squishy and has all these nooks and crannies to wrap my legs and arms around and I love her and I probably need to wash her, it's been an embarassingly long time, and I've started sleeping naked in the last year so... well, don't touch her, that's all I'm saying.

My head pillow (D) needs to be relatively flat, otherwise I get a crick in my neck from having to tilt it upwards into the pillow. Also, my head is positioned on the very edge of the pillow - I feel constricted if my head's in the middle of the pillow, because then I've got pillow touching my face, which I can't stand. My bottom arm (the one not lovingly caressing Mabel) needs to be directly under my pillow and fully extended, as in the picture.

Finally, there's a second pillow (E) to prop up the arm that goes under my head, so that the hand is about 4-6" above the surface of the bed. This is a relatively new addition to the sleep system (I think it started about a year ago), but one that I can no longer do without. I can't explain why, but it feels like my arm is being unnaturally twisted if I don't have that pillow there to prop it up. In fact, there are two pillows, because while I'm falling asleep, I occasionally have to turn over and face the other way, so I keep two pillows on the bed so that I don't have to switch it over every time.

Now I'm in a position (ha!) where I have trouble falling asleep if I don't meet at least 3/4 of these requirements, the most important being C and E. Without those, I might as well stay up all night and watch informercials, because I won't be getting any sleep. Suffice it to say, I don't like sleeping at other people's houses for the above reasons. If I can, I'll actually bring a few things with me so that I can sleep comfortably. Also, although I don't use music to lull me to sleep at home, I'll listen to my mp3 player when sleeping at someone else's house, because it helps me tune out how uncomfortable I am.

When I was touring with my old band, they mocked my "sleepaway kit" consisting of: Air mattress (there's no way I can sleep on a floor or rolled-out foam layer), bed sheet and blanket, 2 pillows and Mabel. Thankfully I'm comfortable enough with my sexuality and manliness that I can bring my gigantic blue teddy bear on the road with me and not be killed by embarrassment of it all. It'd be a different story if everyone saw what was going on between Mabel and I under the covers, what with the whole naked sleeping thing... again - don't touch.

a. I also suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome, and if you try to tell me it's a made-up disease, I will come to your house and show you how restless they are by kicking you repeatedly in the face while shouting "I just can't stop moving them!"

1 comment:

  1. That's crazy because this post could have been written by myself with a few changes (eg: I do not own a blue teddy bear, though maybe I should get one - or something similar - since I am constantly switching what i hold onto, and I do still listen to music at home to lull me to sleep). Have you tried using one of the buckwheat pillows as your main pillow? I got one for Christmas and it has made a huge difference. I think I will be taking it with me whenever I go on any trip.