I went to a cocktail party last night to celebrate Dave’s thirty-seventh birthday. Over kalamata olives and pickled carrots, I told Dave’s parents and Courtney how my sleep has improved during the past six months. I ought to have known that I was jinxing myself.
One of the cornerstones to my sleep regimen has been adapting to my sleep cycle. Because my personal cycle averages about ninety minutes, there are certain optimal times for me to fall asleep. If I fall asleep at a different time, I wake before five or after six, and that’s not good. Last night, I read comic books in bed until the middle of one of these optimal times, then I turned out the light and fell asleep.
Kris woke me a short time later. She turned on the light and shouted: “Are you asleep already? I hate it when you do that.” Groan.
Kris doesn’t like for me to go to bed before she does, even if she’s staying up until eleven to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (while simultaneously reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). She also doesn’t like for me to go to bed after she does, even if she’s going to bed at eight because she doesn’t feel well. No — Kris is only happy if I’m going to bed at precisely the same time she is, and if I’m not reading or listening to music or anything else.
“This channel is so annoying,” Kris said. “They keep showing commercials every ten minutes.”
“I was trying to sleep,” I said, but she didn’t care, so I got up to check my World of Warcraft auctions (about which more tomorrow).
When I tried to fall asleep half an hour later, I couldn’t. Another cornerstone of my sleep regimen is a dose of melatonin half an hour before bed. The melatonin helps me to fall asleep, and grants me truly deep and restful slumber. However, if I am awakened in the middle of melatonin-assisted sleep, it’s almost impossible for me to get back to bed. Such was the case last night.
I lay there, tossing and turning. Every little thing bugged me: my wrist hurt, my shirt was bunched up underneath me, the pillows (without pillow cases, which are in the dryer) were prickly, the hissing of the C-PAP machine was driving me crazy. Nemo had curled up by my side; he bit me when I tried to pet him. Finally, sometime just after midnight, I fell asleep. “Sometime just after midnight” is not one of the optimal times for my sleep cycles.
“Your face is kind of red,” Jenn told me on Saturday, after book group.
“I know. It’s always kind of red lately” I said. “It’s from my C-PAP machine. The mask irritates my face.”
“Doesn’t it have a little water reservoir?” she asked. “That ought to help.”
“It does have a little water reservoir, but I never use it,” I said, and everybody laughed. Naturally, I resolved to use the little water reservoir that very night. (And just as naturally, I forgot to use the little water reservoir that very night. I did, however, remember to use it last night.)
The little water reservoir is nice. As the air blows through the C-PAP machine into the tube, it passes over the pool of water, picking up some of the moisture and carrying it to my nose. There’s no doubt that this makes for a more comfortable C-PAP experience. There’s also no doubt that it creates a micro-climate inside my face mask. Last night at about three o’clock, I dreamed that I was drowning. I woke to find that my dream was not far from reality. I pulled my face mask aside and a small stream of cold water poured from it onto my pillow-caseless pillow. Great. I turned the pillow over and tried to fall asleep again.
When, because of my natural sleep cycle, I woke at 4:45, I considered getting up, but discarded the notion as silly. I was tired. Kris’ alarm went off at 5:15. Kris’ alarm went off at 5:24. I got out of bed and poked around on the computer. At 6:00, I hollered, “Are you going to get out of bed?”
“Oh,” said Kris.
I can’t do my morning routine before Kris, because if I do there isn’t enough hot water for her shower. Usually the morning routine begins at about 5:45. If it begins at 6:05, we are w-a-y behind schedule. We rushed through things, and I complained the whole time about Kris’ woeful insensitivity to her husband, how callously she had thwarted him at both ends of the night. She bore my admonitions with poise. I managed to make it out the door just on time.
I am very, very tired this morning.
Footnote: To make matters worse, it is cold. That is to say, my office is cold. How cold? It’s 4.2 degrees celsius. That’s 39.56 degrees fahrenheit! I’ve turned on both space heaters: the old fan-based clunker and my new directional parabolic heater. Maybe between the two I can get the office to near 20 before noon. (The temperature has increased to 10.4 in the 48 minutes it took to write this entry!)
Footnote to the footnote: When I spruced up my office recently, I bought three houseplants to give the place a little warmth. “You’re not very good at taking care of those,” Nick told me recently. “You need to water them.” Actually, they get enough water. They don’t get enough light. And 4.2 degrees celsius? Not ideal for tropical plants. No wonder my ficas is shedding its leaves. I shake it and the leaves cascade like, well, leaves falling from a tree. Okay for an oak in November; not okay for an office ficas.