Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thirty Thanks, Day 4: Sleep

Le sleep space.

There is nothing special about being thankful for sleep. It's something everyone needs, and usually they find a way to have it, so it's not something I often think about being grateful for. It's kind of like free coffee at work: you take it for granted, until it's gone. You barely notice how much you appreciate its presence but when it's missing you can't think about anything else. (I'm not saying this from personal experience. I usually partake of the free coffee at work but once a week.)

I've personally gone through many eras of restless sleep. I couldn't tell you the reason behind most these times. It could have been stress, or an irregular sleep schedule, or allergies. (We can blame much of it on stress, probably, or the chaos of college life.) I don't know. But I do know that I missed good sleep immensely. And, of course, there's that tragically desperate period between when you head hits the below and finally falling asleep. That time when you perpetually glance at the clock, calculating how many hours of sleep you would get if you fell asleep right now. 

I haven't done this recently, and I'm grateful. But there was a period of time when this happened all the time, mostly due to the difference in how I sleep, and how my husband sleeps. In general, men fall asleep much faster than women. My boss and I once discussed how men say they "shut off" their brains at night, and that's all we need to do to fall asleep. This is far from realistic for women, but somehow men manage it every night. When the hubby and I go to sleep, he goes to sleep. He shuts his eyes, his legs and hands twitch, there's usually a loud noise (a snort or cough) and then he's out. It takes less than two minutes. For me, I have to lay there, and think about something soothing.

Yeah, that's right. I have to think about something to fall asleep. I usually imagine a paintbrush covered with green paint, held by an invisible hand painting beautiful vines and leaves. I also think about rivers, and sunsets. Pretty things. You know, because I'm a woman. ;)

My real problem is that I'm a very light sleeper. It doesn't require a lot of noise to wake me up. But once I'm awake, it's even harder to fall back asleep. This is why even on my days off I wait to go to bed until Joey comes home because if he wakes me up when he comes in, I will be awake for another several hours.

But, as I said, this hasn't been an issue recently. Our sleep schedules are synchronized. Our work schedules allow for decent amounts of sleep and rest and relaxation.  There is nothing quite like feeling well-rested. Plus, one of my favorite things about sleep is dreaming. My dreams are like movies, but I've probably said that before. They have a plot with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. And I remember most of them, although most people forget most of their dreams approximately 10 minutes after they wake up.

I would also like to mention, as a final note, that having a sleep space is really important. You spend a third of your life sleeping, so it should be enjoyable. Comfy pillows, warm blankets, soft lightning (see photo above for inspiration!) I get to go buy a brand new comforter next week (so far all of the blankets we've had since we got married have been from thrift stores) and I'm so excited, it's practically all I think about. Just sayin.' Sleep space is vital. 

I am so incredibly thankful for sleep. So, thanks sleep. I couldn't live without you. Literally.

(Did you know that if you avoid sleep for 10 consecutive days, you'll DIE?)

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