The joy of sleep

‘You remember how it was sometimes when you were a kid? You got into bed, and then suddenly it was morning, with no interval in between.’

I read this line in a book yesterday and longed for those days. When I was a child I was such a deep sleeper that my mum and sister would sometimes shake me and shout in my face to try to wake me, worrying I had slipped into some sort of coma in the night.

I don’t know whether it is becoming a parent, or simply adulthood, (as they both happened to me at the same time), but it has been about 17 years now since I slept like that. After thinking about it for a bit, and sighing heavily and indulgently to myself, I thought I might write about a typical night for me – I know, you’re yawning just thinking about it, that’s how evocative my writing is…*

And then last night, I had such a terrible night’s sleep, I just had to share. It went something like this:

10.30pm: Come to bed, with warm drink, feeling optimistic. Read for a bit until Boyfriend starts snoring. Turn off light.

11.00pm: Lie in the dark for a while, wondering what the weather will be like tomorrow, deciding what to wear. Try to remember if we have bread. Make mental note to self to change kitchen bin in the morning, and to become thin/fit this week.

Midnight: Wake from dream about Nazi massacre, where I’ve had to step over the body of Hitler, unsure whether he is actually dead or not, and scared he may grab my ankle at any moment. Lie awake for a while recalling all the things I made myself remember an hour ago. Drift back to sleep, waking every ten minutes or so to rearrange duvet, fidget etc.

2.30am: Just entering satisfying period of deep sleep when Boyfriend’s phone rings. Not sure what is happening in sleepy state. Boyfriend goes back to sleep, holding his phone with the screen shining in my face.

2.45am: Phone rings again. Poke boyfriend awake. It is Chinese bed and breakfast owner wondering if he has checked in. Yes he did, he says, two weeks ago. Chinese bed and breakfast owner is not convinced. Boyfriend shouts at Chinese bed and breakfast owner that it is the middle of the night.

3.00am: Boyfriend goes back to sleep instantly, while I lie awake for an hour, thinking about what it would be like to be a Chinese bed and breakfast owner, and trying to work out the time in China. Get up and go to the toilet for a change of scenery.

4.30am: Phone rings again. It is Chinese bed and breakfast owner, calling to apologise for disturbing us earlier. Have dream about ballroom dancing with dead Granddad. Wake up feeling a bit disturbed for a while.

5.30am: Scratch myself awake on spiky duvet. Lie awake for a while regretting choice of jewel encrusted bedding set.

8.15am: Phone rings again. Is Boyfriend’s mother. ‘No,’ says Boyfriend, ‘there is no school today.’ Make Boyfriend make me tea and then complain about it when it arrives.

Spend rest of day moaning about feeling tired.

Really, I am a joy to share a bed with. Is this just me, or just how grown-ups sleep?

*Evocative. Not dull.



  1. 20 July, 2012 / 9:25 am

    Sorry Jo, I sleep like a log from the moment my head hits the pillow. Unless one of the kids breathes too heavily (or ceases to breathe at all for a few seconds), then of course mummy radar kicks in and I’m out of bed like a jack-rabbit.

    By the way, I find a good sharp elbow and a grunted “Turn OVER!” works wonders with snoring bed partners.

  2. rinsimpson
    20 July, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    I’m like Mandy, asleep the moment my head touches the pillow. Which makes me REALLY IRRITABLE on the rare occasion that I can’t sleep. I am unbearable in this situation and should be avoided at all costs.

  3. lisbeth
    20 July, 2012 / 10:56 pm

    I wake up LOADS during the night – I think it’s just programming from 10 years of having babies/children who are TERRIBLE sleepers. I do fall back to sleep but rarely have a solid few hours. These days I tend to wake up, check my emails, see if I can beat my brother at Facebook Scrabble, realise that it’s 4.35 am….

  4. 21 July, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    I like to sleep on my own – call me neurotic or whatever but it is the only way I can guarantee complete darkness and quiet and not be woken by a cell phone. I usually get off quite easily but do sometimes wake at about 3am and worry about something stupid for a few hours and then nod off again.

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