29 April 2008

I like to spread out

Last night was ruined by fitful attempts at sleep. Late yesterday evening I suffered a sudden onset of a severe sore throat and stuffy nose that kept me awake for hours. I was sure my misery was caused by allergies. I'd taken a walk on a windy afternoon, and I'd been rained on by a big white cloud of cherry blossoms. I may as well have taken a bath in a tub full of hot pollen.

When you don't feel good, it's hard to do a lot of the suggested relaxation techniques for the typical insomniac. Deep, yogic breathing is out, that's for sure. On the flip side, lying awake at night can often provide inspiration for ye olde blog. At some point, I realized that sleep would only be possible after I made confession to the universe.

I am a terrible sleeper.

Nowadays, I'm usually lucky enough stay asleep from the time I go to sleep until the time I hit my snooze alarm for the 18th time. Falling asleep isn't typically problematic for me either, though it has been a touchy subject in the past. I'll admit that getting out of bed isn't a particular forte of mine, but I usually manage to get out the door in time for work or whatever adventure has required setting an alarm.

It's my unconscious habits which make me an awful sleeper. Obviously, I'm not the best person to say what I do or do not do during my sleep. Do I snore? I couldn't tell you. I feel confident in my claims based on the evidence I am presented on either side of my nightly trips to the land of Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.

The best position for me to fall asleep involves being planked out diagonally on my stomach. I sleep with my head propped on my pillow and my right shoulder. My right arm is extended straight up and my hand limply flops over the top edge of the mattress. My left arm dangles off the side of the bed. My left foot hooks over the center part of the bottom of the mattress while my right toes hook over the right edge of the bed. I take up as much space as humanly possible.

But I never maintain this position. I wake up every morning curled into a tiny ball. I've gone fetal in a way which commands my chin to rest daintily upon my knee. When I stretch out and unwind in the morning, it takes a few minutes to get blood recirculating in my legs. I could be tucked in as snug as a bug when I fall asleep, but when I wake up my blankets are strewn across the room in every direction possible.

I called my sister up because she's spent many nights sharing a bed with me in our younger days. I think she actually came to dread the family vacation, or the overnight guest that might have forced us to share close sleeping quarters. I remember one family vacation where Ms. Grin-and-Bear-It herself complained so loudly and so frequently about having to share a bed with me that my parents forked over the cash for a roll away for me during the remainder of the trip.

I decided that she might be able to shed appropriate light on my bad behavior during non-waking hours. I called her up this afternoon and asked for her assessment of the situation. In her review, she repeatedly used words like trashing, kicking, pushing, cuddling and sweating. I don't want to incriminate myself too thoroughly here, but my own sister has accused me of having a "too-hot torso" coupled with two iceberg feet. She said she'd wake up with bruises from my kicking, grabbing and slashing. I would steal all the blankets. I would spread out as I pleased, and I didn't care who or what was in my way.

"Thank Gawd you're out of your nosebleed phase," she said, "You could spring a gusher and sleep right through it. I'd wake up in a sticky pool of blood in the middle of the night convinced that you had actually succeeded in killing me." Ugh. I'd forgotten about that completely. Good thing they made rubber sheets for bed wetters.

She had quite a lot to say on the subject. I'm glad she's still so bitter; my account wouldn't be nearly as colorful. Despite everything she said, nothing was quite as satiating as the following exchange:

K: If you could sum up my sleeping habits in one word, what would that word be?
J: Schadenfreude.
K: Jeez, J. Kind of a zeitgeisty term there.

At this point my sister tells me to stick a spoon up my ass in six different languages. I love it when she does that.

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