As one of those rare, and perhaps weird, individuals who actually pay attention to TV commercials, I have made the following observation. The mattress industry is out of control! Apparently, as a nation with approximately 70 million Americans suffering from some form of insomnia, we are fixated on getting a good night’s sleep. Anyone in the market for a new mattress today has my profound sympathy. Given the proliferation of choices, making the right decision is enough to cause anyone many wakeful hours.
If restless leg syndrome is keeping you awake, try the Purple Mattress. If vegan is your lifestyle, there’s Avocado Green, a mattress which is neither. And the good old Sleep Number so you and your partner can exist in harmony and never have to compromise. And if the partnership still dissolves, perhaps you can include your personal sleep number in your dating profile.
A while back, I wrote about my own struggles with insomnia. With all this focus on the perfect sleep, I thought it would be timely to revive it. Obviously, my head and tush were not in the perfect alignment required for a restful night. Or the memory foam had a senior moment. Perhaps if I had known about Casper in a Box, and/or My Pillow, my sleep deprivation would have been one less thing to complain about.
The Insomnia Games
I am not a competitive person. If I even so much as win at Scrabble, my inclination is to leap over the board, hug the loser, and say “sorry.” Yet, each morning, upon opening my eyes, I find myself engaged in a verbal duel.
I’m not exactly sure when this began. Perhaps it started on that critical birthday when one’s bladder decides to stop cooperating with one’s need for hydration and becomes demanding during the night in two-hour intervals. Which I think is very spiteful.
I’m reminded of my former dogs. When they aged, I’d remove their water bowls no later than 5:00 pm to prevent them from awakening me in the middle of the night. While I don’t have to go outside to pee, I’m definitely considering rolling back happy hour.
What’s referred to as “a good night’s sleep” has become elusive. My husband swears he hasn’t slept through the night since he was 10 months old. His parents are both deceased so I cannot confirm this report, but I do know that a factor in my sleepus interruptus is the glow of his iPad at some ungodly hour.
As a result of this pernicious insomnia, we’ve become quite competitive, constantly challenging each other as to who has had the worst night. A typical morning conversation might go something like this:
“How did you sleep?”
“Yeah, well, I slept worse.”
“I woke at 3:00 and haven’t slept since.”
“So? I woke at 2:50.”
“No you didn’t. I saw you. You were sound asleep.”
“I was pretending.”
“So how come you were snoring?”
“I had to go to the bathroom three times.”
“I went four….”
“Yeah, well, I had leg cramps.”
“I know. I heard you marching around the bedroom.”
“No you didn’t. You were sleeping.”
The verbal jousting is halted by the current dog, who is covering his ears, and our need for coffee, requiring someone leave the bed, usually me.
I’m sure competitive not-sleeping isn’t limited to us. At this stage of life sleep deprivation may be the latest status age-related deficit, edging out contenders like number of body part replacement, knowing the best doctors, and HDL scores. Instead, we discuss the virtues of Ambien over Lunesta, or how spraying lavender on your pillowcase is very soothing and will lull you to dreamland. I tried that. It resulted in a damp pillowcase and an allergy attack.
As for me, I’m tired, and want to withdraw from the game. I’d gladly relinquish the gold medal in exchange for a few nights of solid, restful sleep. And when my husband laments in the morning about how bad the night was, I’d gently pat his hand, commiserate, and try to refrain from gloating. After all, I’m not a competitive person.
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.