Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Every human being needs sleep. It’s a basic necessity, along with air, water, food, shelter, and clothing. (And sex. But we won’t get into that here.)

There are certain commonalities with human sleep patterns. We generally lie flat or slightly elevated. Our breathing becomes heavy. Our eyelids close. (Unless you’re my Uncle Paul. But we won’t get into that here.)

What I find fascinating, though, are the little things…the precursors to sleep, or the positions of sleep, that define us. Those things our mothers can point to and go, A-Ha! I know you’re sleepy now!

The comforts.

My brother would twirl a lock of his hair when he was sleepy, turning it around and around his right index finger. He still does, and he’s 40-ish.

My college friend J would insist on sleeping with a blanket edged in satin binding. She would insert her middle finger inside the open end of the binding and rub the binding between that finger and her thumb. Again and again. Til she fell asleep.

Co-worker (Suicidal Guy in Loveless Marriage) can’t sleep unless he plugs in his ambient sound-maker, and plays at least 20 minutes of ocean sounds or rainforest.

Me, I have no precursors. I have positions. If I turn on my right side, I fall asleep quickly and have a hard time waking up (so I rarely do it). Also, if I let myself recline in the Lazyboy, with the little foot thingy propped up and the chair stretched out, I will doze off. Especially if there’s something warm like a kid or a cat or a blanket anywhere near me.

Lately, any time spent in a dark room puts me to sleep. Tucking the kids in is hazardous to my ‘Post-9-p.m.-Free-Time’. So are movies…I took the kids to see “Meet the Robinsons” last Friday and I fell asleep in the darkened theatre. I don’t think I snored. I hope not.

What about you? Do you have any childhood holdovers that are a dead giveaway to your impending sleep mode? Does sleeping on your back (The King Position) knock you totally out? Can you only fall asleep while thinking of yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked men screaming and throwing little pickles at you? (Wait. Uh. Let's NOT get into that here.)

13 Comments:

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Sanjay said...

Like you, I can sleep as soon as I roll over to my right side, or on the train while sitting. Not much else needed.

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger Cynical Girl said...

I always fall asleep when I'm riding shotgun in a car. Always.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger jo(e) said...

I play with my hair when I am tired.

And I can only sleep curled up on my side -- I could never fall asleep lying on my back.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

I am not aware of things I do to fall asleep. But if my husband strokes my hair I'm out in about 10 minutes. If he doesn't, I find myself picturing every detail of something to stop my mind from reeling with thoughts and ideas.

My eldest son puts a blanket over his head when he's ready to konk. My youngest son smells his blankie, passing it under his nose back and forth. My daughter kicks her right foot repeatedly till it slows to a halt and then she's off to dreamland.

Aren't we all nocturnally funny?

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous colleen said...

I wish I could fall asleep on couches or in the middle of a sentence like my husband can. I have to be in a bed and wear a black mask and sometimes even earplugs to get the whole thing to work.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Gordo The Geek said...

The recliner in the evening does me in. Every time. When I go to bed, it's a crap-shoot as to whether I'll fall asleep easily or not.

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Lucia said...

I plan to read...always. I read a few pages, turn on my left side, and the book hits the floor. I have a "smart" light bulb that if I don't turn it off, turns itself off in a total of 30 mins.

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger meno said...

That's funny, i also sleep on my right side, all curled up with one hand under the pillow beneath my head. But after i am asleep i move and wiggle and stretch. There have been occasions where a perfectly happily sleeping cat has gone flying off the end of the bed as i move my legs.

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Irrelephant said...

And here I thought it was going to be a classical music post. *sigh* I hate to say, but the only regular thing about my pre-sleep habit is the time-five minutes past my bedtime and I'm yawning until my head is ready to split in twain along my mouth.

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

I have go to sleep on my right side, all curled up with my arm under the pillow. I also have to have a pillow between my knees. My knees can't touch or I can't sleep.
When I was a kid, I'd fall asleep on my rocking horse with my blankie over my head.

 
At 12:10 AM, Blogger Teri said...

Dark rooms put me to sleep.

My kids all do the hair twirly-thing - but it's better if they can twirl MY hair...

I'm a blankie snuggler - and every now and then I'll half-wake-up and realize that I have a finger in my mouth - not sucking on it, just in my mouth.

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger gr said...

Much as I loved my little dog Petey, he slept on my pillow and snored in my ear and kicked me when he dreamt or I tried to move him. He was a little stubborn and bossy. It is a miracle how well I sleep since he passed, although I miss him...

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger blossoms_stoned said...

I have to have a small lamp on, my tv on but dimmed, volume set to barely audible and tv time set to about 60mins. I am afraid to sleep alone in total darkness :)

 

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