The thief of sleep


I can’t help but wonder if there is some exotic foreign or mythical sounding nickname meaning “thief of sleep” that I can bestow upon the boyfriend. I wouldn’t want him to know I’m calling him a thief of sleep, because he always looks so sad and crestfallen whenever I try to explain that he just has this way of fucking with my sleep without even trying.

You must excuse me if I am a little cranky. Less than hour ago I was enjoying a lovely nap after having finished a very good book. All the proper conditions were being met for a good nap: the proper nap time (naps must be started no earlier than 2:30 and no later than 3:30) and the proper company (naps must be shared with at least one feline companion). I don’t nap very often, what with the full-time office job, and on the weekends I’m usually involved in some other activity during prime napping hours. The boyfriend, on the other hand, is all about the naps. That man engages in at least one nap a day. He has no rules around when he’ll nap. If the urge hits him and there is a bed near by, down he goes for the count. Since he works from his home and can set his own hours, anytime is nap time. I am partially disgusted by how indulgent he is when it comes to naps, and I’m also kind of jealous that he can do it frequently and with such ease.

Anyway, as happens 8 out of 10 times I try to take a nap, he inadvertently wakes me up. Today it was with a phone call. Others time it’s by clomping into my house in search of me or one of the cats to come greet him like a conquering hero. Arrrggggggg!

Perhaps I am overly delicate when it comes to my sleep habits, but I always have a hard time falling asleep when he is here. Despite his abundance of naps during the day, he inevitably heads to bed before I do. Even if I’m tired, I stay up later so as to give him time to fall into a deep sleep before I slip into bed myself. Normally, this happens after I’ve fallen asleep myself on the couch. Gingerly I creep into bed while I am still in a half slumber hoping I can just pick up where I left off mere minutes ago. It doesn’t tend to work. Even if he was sleeping somewhat soundly, the sounds of my getting into bed rouse him into enough consciousness where he’ll throw a leg or arm – usually both – over me and then fall back into a deep sleep. I feel trapped and within seconds a deep wave of anxiety washes over me which then turns into adrenalin, and I end up bolting from the bed. (OK. Fine. This doesn’t always happen, but I’m cranky and can make gross over-generalizations if I want to.)

I can avoid this bedtime drama if I remember to take a Tylenol PM early enough in the evening so that the anxiety of feel trapped can’t break through the grogginess. I have found that growling at him or a petulant “don’t” right before the leg or arm toss sometimes helps, and he turns back over and falls back asleep within seconds. And since he’s such a sound sleeper, he rarely remembers being growled at.

Oh well, I didn’t want a nap anyway . . . yeah, yeah I did. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Damn thief of sleep.

18 responses »

  1. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
    Must give us pause,

    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin?
    Anytime can be nap time.

  2. But your thief of sleep is a Prince of Thieves no doubt!

    I am slowly getting used to sleeping next to my boyfriend. He is really snuggly, which is fantastic, but does lead to a bit of sleep deprivation, as I tend to lie in his arms romanticising the snuggle, “This is so sweet, he is so cuddly…so cuddly and OMG he’s fucking snoring!!”

  3. My daughter gets downright irate with me when I doze off into a nap on the sofa. I don’t know why it irritates her so, but she stirs me rudely and hisses, “DON’T!” She tries to tell me I’m snoring and intruding on her tv time, but I don’t know… 😉

  4. Even after 30+ years of marriage, I still don’t sleep well with my husband in bed with me. He snores or he does the arm or leg throw. My best chance for a good night’s sleep is to get there before he does and hope I’m deep enough into it that I don’t hear or engage in his pre-sleep and sleep antics.

    I have to admit… I’m tired. 😉

    I’m the same way about naps. My husband, on the other hand, is much like your thief of sleep. He can nap anytime, anywhere, and it doesn’t disturb his sleep at night.

  5. I’d rather have a thief of sleep than always have to sleep alone…

    No wait, actually I wouldn’t – I just remembered how annoying and wearying it is to have one’s sleep disturbed by someone too much loved to be able to thump.

  6. I myself pilfer blankets in the middle of the night. I get growled at on a regular basis for rolling over in the middle of the night leaving the Wife out in the cold.

    On the flip side, I hate sleeping alone. So I figure I can just take teh middle-of-the-night growls for what they are. I would miss them if they were suddenyl not there.

  7. Sleep… Zzzzz. Whoops, I think I nodded off there for a moment.

    Speaking from experience, if my sleep is hosed, so is my life… so I can relate to your nap frustration. I don’t nap often myself, but sometimes you just have to!

    I had a lot of problems with sleep as a child which translated to major problems as an adult. I didn’t get a handle on these until I got back into yoga and learned how to shut off what I call the monkey-mind and be truly quiet upstairs. Combining that clarity with the breathing and conscious stretching of yoga has really made a difference. Sometimes things will jar me (like the violent incident in my neighborhood a while back) but it’s a lot easier to recover now, and I don’t get woken up by every little noise. Just focusing on the breath shuts it down. Cool.

    …and I have to chime in about sleeping partners. I got lucky this time! We’re pretty compatible there – same schedules (more or less) and we keep similar hours. That helps a lot!

    I also treat sleep more as a ritual now – even the naps – and having that structure has made a difference, too.

  8. Monkeys – thank you for that Shakespearean interlude.

    Lili – Isn’t new love grand? There was a time, yay, many many moons ago where I would be very hurt if the boyfriend didn’t move in for the snugggle when I came to bed. Now, I’m just relieved.

    Shu – funny thing, I also get a bit annoyed when the boyfriend falls into a nap when we’re watching a movie or TV. Not sure why I find it annoying, but I do.

    Robin – sigh. Well, if you’ve been married for 30 years, there must be plenty to recommend him – just so happens his sleep habits are not one of them. Usually, during the day I can remember why I keep the boyfriend around, but there are sometimes in the middle of night, boy oh boy . ..

    Truce – I know what you’re sayin’. I feel quite fortunate as I have a bit of a balance here. He only spends the nights on the weekends, so I have the rest of the week to sleep as I wish. I think we’d definitely have to find some kind of compromise (or a guest bedroom) if this were to happen every single night.

    Adam – how brave of you as a man to pipe up, and to admit to being a covers pilferer. We women love you guys, but dang, you’re hard to share a bed with.

    NM – good for you that you found a compatible sleeping partner (versus a combative sleeping partner). I feel fortunate that sleep is not that big of an issue for me when I’m sleeping by myself. I would say 85% of the time I’m good. When the boyfriend is present, that number goes down to about 40-50%.

    My challenge is getting enough sleep on the weeknights because I like to stay up late. I have through the course of my lifetime, tried to turn my clock back to a more reasonable bedtime, but it simply hasn’t worked. So, too often the morning comes way too soon if I’m going to get to work at a reasonable time. And that’s why my weekend sleep becomes so important to me, which is why the thief of sleep sometimes makes me sooooo cranky.

  9. I liked this post and all the comments.

    Little Fawn, my daughter, has the same annoyance… if we’re watching a movie and i begin to doze off she yells at me, “daddy! what are you doing!”

    I hate that. Ten minutes later she’s out and my window of opportunity is gone. The nap window for me is a narrow one.

  10. LB, I hear you. I had to force myself, kicking and screaming, to adapt to an earlier bedtime. I was a night owl from an early age. Combine that with insomnia and sleep disorders and you can probably understand what a challenge it was to change.

    I’m still not an “ideal sleeper” every sleep specialist that I saw told me that I should have the same sleep schedule on the weekend as I do during the week. Although I did that initally to get myself on a schedule, I don’t do that now! I am always up LATE on Friday and on Saturday. However, it is pretty annoying when I go to bed at 3:00 AM and my internal alarm clock would pop my eyes open at 5:30 AM. Yikes! Well, at least I am able to go back to sleep now.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to lecture on the subject. I think the compatibility helps, but I don’t think I would have been able to get there if I didn’t reprogram my circadian rhythm. Prior to this time, I never very slept well, and almost never could sleep with another person in the room, let alone the bed.

  11. I’ve gotten to the point where I gauge a potential GF’s compatibility by whether she’s willing to sleep in a separate bed. I can’t sleep with someone else that close to me; I lie awake most of the night, feeling trapped and miserable. I was engaged for three years to a woman next to whom I slept during nearly every night, and it cured me of communal sleeping for life. I’d rather sleep on the living room floor than in the same bed with my inammorata, no matter how much I love her.

  12. Oh, and why is it that people equate sleep with sex? There’s, like, the bed for sleep, and then the bed for sex. You don’t have to have sex and then sleep together. They’re two completely different things. And just because I don’t want to literally sleep with a woman, it doesn’t mean I don’t respect her, or whatever. It just means I need sleep. Doesn’t everyone? *sigh*

  13. Jules – Thanks. Glad you are enjoying this. 🙂

    NM – thanks for the tips about reprogramming my circadian rhythms. The difference between my weekday and my weekend hours is not that vast. On the weekends, I just tend to sneak another hour or so of sleep in the morning.

    Ombuds – somnia rapio I like it. One could say it softly as a romantic endearment, “ah, mio somnia rapio”, or as a curse “damn somnia rapio”. Unfortunately the urge to stick a “d” in there is great. Somnia rapido is also a pretty good discription of him due to his ability to fall dead asleep with no problems.

    David – You wonder about the relationship of sleep to sex? At the beginning of a relationship I think the only thing sleep has to do with sex is that it is something people often do right after sex. There isn’t necessarily a relationship between having sex and going to bed to sleep. Sex can be anywhere, anytime. Once the relationship starts to settle down, sex and sleep become an easy way to multi-task in bed. “Oh, look, here is this person whom I love and find attractive and they are scantily dressed on this soft, yet supportive surface. What the hell, let’s have some sex before we go to sleep.” (Or it could be the same scenario upon waking). So, if people didn’t find themselves in the same bed to sleep, sex takes more effort. And god forbid we have to exert effort. 😉

  14. I love to snuggle, personally, but it takes awhile to get used to sleeping with someone when you’re accustomed to sleeping alone.

    That made me laugh, the ‘conquering hero’ part…

    In college I came to the idea that sleep-wise, most any condition is adaptable, because I actually shared a single bed with my boyfriend for over six months and we didn’t kill each other. After awhile you just learn not to move in your sleep. But then, neither one of us every had much trouble nodding off to begin with.

  15. “I can’t help but wonder if there is some exotic foreign or mythical sounding nickname meaning “thief of sleep” that I can bestow upon the boyfriend”

    how about “mr nadasleepasana”?

  16. I am new to this site but just had to post – I sleep so well by my self, I love sleep it is my favourite thing to do, however my boyfriend moves all night waking me up at least 3 or 4 times. Grrrrr! I sleep weel for quite lightly so I have no idea about what to do to stop getting woken up….does it ever get better?

  17. “There isn’t necessarily a relationship between having sex and going to bed to sleep. Sex can be anywhere, anytime.”

    can we see the pictures?

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