Men and dogs share this one characteristic. They can fall asleep like flipping a light switch. Yesterday, Terry and I drove 4 hours (one way) to spend some time with CJ and help get his trailer set up. On the way there, (I was driving) Terry said “I’m going to take a quick nap” and within moments…like 30 seconds…there was a soft snoring coming from the seat. It lasted about 15 minutes, then he woke up. Same thing on the way home.
This morning, I got up, let the dogs out, poured a cup of coffee, and got in the recliner. Rusty jumped up next to my legs, flopped his head on my ankle and within moments was snoring softly. He’s still there. Snoring softly and smelling like old cheese (hm…).
Fortunately Terry never smells like old cheese.
Anyway, how do they DO that? I can’t fall asleep like that. I have to go through a process, a long and involved one. Dinner will have to have been something light like a bowl of cereal or a salad. After 27 years of being an adult and responsible for the meals, I finally figured that one out.First, a cup of warm (not hot! Not cold for that makes me cough, it has to be about 120 degrees) herbal tea heavy on the chamomile. Then, a large handful of all the prescription stuff. Then, quiet reading for however long it takes to get sleepy. No action stuff, no really good books that make me wonder what happens next or requires thinking. It has to be some kind of formulaic fluff where you know that Protagonist A will end up with Protagonist B and the antagonist is something like the weather or a mean horse. Dim light, pillows in the proper position for optimal spinal support and comfort (Terry calls it my nest), ambient temperature has to be somewhere between 67 and 70 degrees (in the winter) or 78 and 80 degrees (in the Summer). After laying on my right side, and cracking all the joints there are, I will finally be ready to start the real process of attempting to go to sleep. Earplugs-check. Water bottle that blocks the glare of light from the large-number clock-check. Fluff the pillows again. Try laying on my left side for variety’s sake. Decide that doesn’t work and return to right side. Legs straight. No, bent. No, straight. Right leg straight and left one bent. Ok. Left foot reaching over to see if Terry’s there. Ok he is. ahhh…finally falling asleeWHAT WAS THAT NOISE?! *sigh*
and all the while, Terry is softly snoring next to me, having fallen asleep 30 seconds after he turned out his bedside light.
I envy that. I am happy for him, really I am.
Do you remember as a child, when you didn’t have to go through this ridiculous 2 hour ritual in order to sleep? I remember the only ritual I had for getting into bed was making a sprint down the hallway so I could leap from the bedroom doorway (and hit the light switch at the same time) and land on the bed without ever touching the floor, so as to avoid the potential of being dragged under the bed and reduced to a pile of dry bones by whatever it was that lived there. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything there but being a cautious sort of child, I wasn’t taking any chances. Mom always made me clean out from under the bed because I never could convince her that if the under-the-bed was crowded with stuff there was no room for whatever otherwise would have lived under there. Anyway, after the grand leap (and admonitions from downstairs to STOP RUNNING!) I would land on the bed and fall asleep, comfortable in the safety of sleeping right in the middle of it so nothing could reach, also protected by the Quilt Of Invincibility Which No Monster Could Cross.
What happens as an adult that that ability to fall asleep so easily evaporates? It started happening right about when puberty hit. I began reading in bed, listening to soft music (Oh y’all…Mike Kellogg- Best. Night. Music. Ever.), then drinking the tea…etc. I noticed upon getting married that Terry could fall asleep so easily, and later also sleep the sleep of the innocent even while a baby was screaming 3 feet away from his ear. That one earned him a middle of the night punch when I was 3 weeks into motherhood and thought it was grossly unfair.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that he (and other men, I have since found out) can fall asleep so easily. Our boys do it too. I wonder if their wives will be able to do it as well, or, like me, have to develop a 2 hour ritual with a contingency plan.