That Evil Temptress Sleep

Photo courtesy of Graham Reznick

Sleep, you elusive siren you. Why do you mock me so?

I wish I could fall asleep easily. It sounds lovely. But alas, sleep and I have never seen eye to eye on the issue. I want a relationship with sleep, but sleep wants to keep seeing other people.

The slut.

I can’t really blame sleep for not making a commitment to me. I haven’t exactly been the best suitor. Even after my head hits the pillow and I beckon sleep to adventure to dream world with me, I wind up lying awake for hours. I promise her travel and leave her stranded at the gate.

I blame my parents. It was often overheard in my household growing up, “It’s almost midnight? Why aren’t the kids in their rooms yet?” My parents would take turns saying this to each other, both equally shocked that yet again, a responsible bedtime had evaded them. Naps were just as passionately enforced.

Sleep and I were never close — second cousins at best. But in the past nine months, sleep and I have gone from cool acquaintances to full-on frienemies.

My desire for sleep has grown quite drastically in this second half of my pregnancy, but we are not closer or more intimate. If anything, I think sleep has taken this opportunity to become a bit of a tease. She dances around me — controlling me, making promises she won’t keep — and then comes knocking at the most inconvenient of times.

Rather than let me experience the relationship most other pregnant women have with sleep — feeling tired in the early stages of pregnancy and then becoming an insomniac near the end — sleep decided to mess with my head from the start. She made me simultaneously an insomniac and a narcoleptic.

I try to reconcile with sleep. Overwhelmed by fatigue, I get under my covers each night at a reasonable hour, but my exhaustion does not bring on that cruel temptress. Rather, she takes her sweet time to arrive — primping her hair, I assume — visits for only an hour or two and then disappears, leaving me wanting more. Needing more.

I’ve tried to nourish my body with naps. Attempting to seduce sleep, I take a bath with calming oils, listen to soft music, put on my favorite pajamas and crawl under the covers. But sleep deletes my calls.

And in the cruelest twist of all, sleep won’t entirely let me go. She will pop up unexpectedly, keeping me holding on to hope, wishing for a day we could be together like a normal couple. Her random stopovers have turned me into a narcoleptic.

Throughout this pregnancy, I have not been able to sleep properly, but I have managed to pass out everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

I was taking the trash out at my work and woke up on the stoop in the back alley behind my building. I don’t remember sitting down on the stoop, let alone putting my head down on the garbage-covered concrete. When I came back in, my co-workers said I had been gone for about 40 minutes. Oops.

Then there was that time I went to pick up Chinese food. I remember passing the homeless man who always sits outside the restaurant as I went in to place the order. The next thing I remember is waking up on the bench, with the homeless man glaring down at me.

“You’re in my spot,” he said. He is “The Big Bang Theory‘s” Sheldon Cooper of homeless men.

I’ve fallen asleep in my car, at park tables, on the floor at work, on my driveway — never with the intention or desire to actually fall asleep at that moment.

My affinity for resting my eyes in back alleys probably isn’t the safest or wisest move for a pregnant lady. I think it’s time I swallow my pride and apologize to sleep for whatever I’ve done to upset her so. What kind of flowers does sleep like?

I hope sleep and I can resume our old relationship. It wasn’t perfect, but at least after a few hours of her holding out, she usually would let me slumber until my morning alarm. Please, dearest sleep, no more waking me a million times throughout the night. No more narcolepsy throughout the day.

I’m sure this is just a phase, a blip in the relationship. Sleeping should be much easier once the baby gets here, right?


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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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