Sleep. We, as humans, will sleep for roughly one third of our lifetimes. That means, on average, you will sleep away about 25 of your 75 years on the earth. That is a lot of time spent ‘recharging the batteries’. Why, you may ask, am I telling you this?
Well, I am not a good sleeper. I am in deep sleep-debt. My circadian clock is completely broken. I have no rhythm - sleep rhythm that is (and come to think of it, I don’t think I have any rhythm of any kind. I wonder if rhythm of all kinds is interconnected? Based upon a very small sample size, I believe they are connected. My wife has great rhythm and is a great dancer; and she sleeps so incredibly well.)
So, yes, I have an inordinate amount of time to think about sleeping while I am not, in fact, sleeping!
When I married Briana, I was shocked and little scared about how deeply she slept. In the middle of the night, while not sleeping, I would watch her sleep. You know because I was young and in love and that’s what people do who don’t sleep. She would sleep on her back with her arms folded across her abdomen like, well, you know, like a corpse. Her breathing seemed very shallow. In fact, a few times, I actually shook her awake because I was terrified that she had actually stopped breathing! I quickly found out that Briana was special. A special sleeper. She could sleep like the dead. I literally mean like the dead. It was an incredible ordeal just to wake her up in the morning. And still is. Alarm clocks mean nothing to her. Useless. Going to bed early? Nope, still sleeping late.
All Briana has to do is think about sleeping and she’s out. Really, all she needs to be off her feet and she’s out. She has fallen asleep on her knees. Hanging off her bed. Legs on and torso off. Everything but upside down and that’s only because she hasn’t tried it yet. A story I like to tell to tease her about this sleeping proclivity is as follows:
Briana and I were getting ready to drive from Utah to California to see her family while we were dating/engaged. She told me how excited she was to have 10 hours alone to talk and share everything about one another. As soon as we got in the car, she was fast asleep. We stopped in Mesquite, NV for gas where she woke up, ate, and promptly fell back to sleep. That was the most solitary 10 hour drive I have ever experienced!
I also enjoy when Briana is talking to me and she falls asleep. Did you get that? She is talking to me and falls asleep. In mid-word! “Honey, thanks for empty...” and she’s out! Classic.
It’s actually a family thing. The whole Dix family can sleep anywhere, anytime. I loved having family Sunday lunch/dinner at Briana’s parents house, because directly after the meal, everyone would retire to the huge sofa, stake a spot and pass out immediately. (Vanessa being the exception!) So comical! And I was so jealous.
I, on the other hand, must have perfectly ideal conditions to sleep. It can’t be too hot or too cold. The pillow must be a certain thickness. I must be in a certain position - exactly the correct position. Briana cannot be touching me. And it must be completely quiet. Or else, I am done. No sleep. Any sound wakes me up. (This has come in handy as a dad, I can hear when the kids are trying to sneak out their rooms.) And when I do manage to fall asleep, it is usually only for 30-60 minutes at a time before something wakes me. And then the process starts all over again. Temperature check. Pillow check. Positional check. Noise check. Ok go...or not.
Growing up, I slept in a room down the a hallway from my brother. When he woke up and opened the door to his room, I woke up. That was my alarm. A soft creak down the hall. That’s all it took.
With my disease, I have added a dimension to my difficult sleeping situation. Pain has been added. Sweet.
I chase sleep like some elusive pursuit of truth. I’m constantly looking for the magic trick. Counting sheep does not help. I’ve taken some herbal remedies without success. I refuse to take habit-forming helps. I’ve tried to ‘empty’ my mind - which should be easy, it’s pretty empty already - and found that I cannot NOT think. That double negative has led to proof positive that I am sleep deprived.
As is most often the case, I tend to look at the bright side of things. I can’t sleep. What do I do? Read. I love to read. And this allows me to read more than I could without this inability to sleep, so I am grateful to have something that allows me to pursue a hobby I thoroughly enjoy.
Briana sleeps like the dead, and can fall asleep at any given moment.
I, on the other hand, can’t sleep for anything. But that allows me to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies - reading. It’s a win-win.