Readers’ Rite: Sleep
By Grace Brown
As one of those people who go to bed super early solely to ensure that I get a minimum of seven hours of sleep — otherwise I can’t function — I value my slumber greatly. This was especially true when I was an athlete and played soccer. I vividly remember back in high school, my family and I drove out of town for a tournament. Generally, I was elated to have the entire group there to support me, but knowing I would have to sleep next to my father who snored loud enough to make a room shake, I had lost all excitement. That night we all tried to go to sleep (emphasis on “tried”) around 9 p.m. for a 6 a.m. wake up. My dad had no issue passing out as soon as his head hit the pillow, but the rest of us were victims of the loud noises escaping his mouth.
My sister, mom and I all tossed and turned for hours, hoping to somehow fall asleep during the short, one-minute intervals where he did not release an insanely loud snore. His snores came in waves but every time we almost fell asleep, an earth-shaking snore yanked us away from any chance of sleeping. My sister and I both shoved our heads between the pillows to try and muffle the noise, but it was useless. By 1 a.m., my sister and I were wholeheartedly considering sleeping in our car outside, or kicking our dad out — whichever
would get us silence the fastest. Around 2 a.m., I fell asleep only to be abruptly woken by our obnoxious alarms at 6 a.m. Needless to say, my seven hours of sleep goal was not met. My dad woke up that morning and said he had “the best sleep of his life,” and all of us stared blankly at him. At least he had gotten a good night's rest.
I love sleep, but I am someone who is cursed with being an extremely light sleeper. This affects me on most nights. Pretty much anything can snap me out of sleep: other people getting up, weather, random noises that I convince myself are people breaking in my window, etc. I would say that the most interesting noises that interrupt my sleep are the voices of others. Since I began having sleepovers in elementary school, I have informed many people that they, in fact, talk in their sleep. Most of the time they’re shocked. Sometimes this is funny, like when my high school friend was sleep-talking about Euros after she went to Spain — we get it, you studied abroad.
Yet other times it can get a little scary. Sophomore year my roommate and I shared a room in Dugan. Our beds were against the wall across from the door and the standing closets were in between our beds, so we couldn’t see each other while laying down. One night, around 2 a.m. I woke up to said roommate sitting straight up in her bed, pointing at the door and frantically asking “Who is in here?” As you can imagine, I didn’t like this one bit, and asked her what she was talking about. She began getting more panicked, telling me there was someone in our room, which understandably freaked me out. I tried asking again what she was talking about, but she just laughed and went back to sleep. Luckily for me, she had woken up yelling about a pizza falling on the floor the month before this, so I was kind of used to this sort of middle-of-the night mayhem. I decided that she was sleep talking, and went back to bed without searching our room. The next morning, when I asked her about the supposed intruder, she had no idea what I was talking about.
I am very blessed to be a heavy sleeper; I can sleep with the lights on, I can sleep with the radio on, I can sleep in the car and I am usually asleep before the airplane even leaves the tarmac. However, though God bestowed hibernatory abilities upon me, he failed to gift me a bladder large enough to make it through these deep sleep eight hour stints. Without fail, I routinely wake up every single night to pee around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. This isn’t really a problem, since I can usually fall back to sleep in mere seconds, but it does put me awake at a rare hour of the night.
In these heavy-lidded hours, I can hear one of my roommates playing video games, another snoring soundly and the third one – well, I don’t hear her. Instead, I hear Dave, her boyfriend. Dave has, uncontestedly, the loudest laugh I have ever heard; others attest to this fact as well. Moreover, it seems as though Dave is always laughing – even at 3 a.m. As I lie in bed, about to slip back into the blissful mindlessness of sleep, I can hear Dave cackling on the other side of my thin bedroom wall. My roommate will speak quietly and make Dave break into laughter so thunderous you’d think he was at a live comedy show, consequently causing her to crack up as well. Most nights pass this way, the two of them giggling, chortling, guffawing and roaring into the wee hours of the morning.
There is a little part of me that angers at this; I’m not sure if it's the sleep-greedy part of me disturbed by the noise, or the petty part of me that wishes I was in on their evidently hilarious conversations. Regardless, the bigger part of me pushes that little part aside and laughs right alongside them, despite not knowing the joke, as I fall back asleep every night.
At the start of the semester, I was thriving on a solid three hours of sleep. Working a morning job, going to classes all afternoon and into the early evening and then not getting home again until late just to cook dinner, shower, do my homework and go to bed for a few hours and do it all over again. If you’re ever looking for a way to speed up burnout, cut down your amount of sleep by two-thirds.
It may seem selfish and a little bit mean, but my lack of sleep definitely disrupted my partner’s sleep schedule as well. He’s a night owl, so he wasn’t coming to bed until after midnight, and then at 3:30 a.m., “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift blasts through the bedroom to ensure I wake up on time, and in turn, him as well. There was no complaint from him when I finally resigned from the job. Now I’m back to pushing everything else off in my life in order to get an adequate amount of sleep -- or more, to compensate for all those lost zzz's. If it’s been less than ten hours, do not expect to see me in the morning.
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