Sleeping Alone (Why be afraid of being murdered when I already know I die in a fire?)

I would say that sleeping alone doesn’t bother me.  I’ve spent the majority of my life sleeping alone.  And I have had, one might say “the pleasure” of sleeping alone for the last two years, give or take here and there.  And to qualify my credentials, I did go through a period of sharing my bed for over 10 years straight.  I like sleeping alone in the sense that I don’t have a side of the bed preference.  But more importantly, I don’t like to be limited to one side.  Because the truth is that my preference really is sleeping in the middle.

I don’t have a big bed; it’s a queen, just big enough.  Big enough for me that is.. 🙂  Like when I’m lying in the middle, I can stretch out as big as possible and get nothing but bed for days!  Or sometimes I like to crawl in on one side of the bed, but cross over and hug the opposite pillow.  Occasionally, I wake up on the far side of the bed.  And if my alarm happens to go off while I am on the far side (of the bed, and consciousness), I have had those moments where I have no idea what’s going on or where I am at, but I do know that I am swimming in a sea of sheets and pillows desperately seeking the source of that annoying noise.  And I am thoroughly confused about what is happening and why it all seems so difficult.

Sometimes I don’t even get under the covers.  I just jump sideways across the top of the bed onto the pillow nest and burrow in.  That actually is the most comfortable way to take a mid-day nap.  Like if you’re feeling sick and have to lie down, it’s all about the burrowing into the pillow nest. I do like to sleep sideways on King beds.  But really the problem is that you have to reconfigure the sheets if you’re seriously going to sleep sideways on the king bed.  Because if the sheets are coming up from the bottom and you’ve pulled them around you from the side, as the night progresses, and your body tends to naturally migrate towards the magnetic poles of the bed (usually because your feet are sticking out of the covers when you’re sideways, and your feet get cold) you run the dangerous risk of getting mummy-wrapped into your sheets during the midnight-migration.  And there is nothing worse than when the alarm goes off and your arms are totally tucked into the sheets and you have them pinned down by your own body weight because the sheets are entirely wrapped around you and you can’t get yourself free.  I suppose that is one of the risks of sleeping alone, mummifying yourself and the slow starvation that would follow.

During my 10+ year stint of sharing a bed, I did convince one guy to switch sides of the bed with me for a night.  I think it was a pretty awkward night for both of us.  I didn’t realize that I had grown so attached to my side of that bed.  But I was the one that insisted we switch, so I had to suffer through for a night just to make my point.  Then oddly enough, later on, I was broken and mangled and we had to switch sides of the bed for about 3 months so that my broken leg could be on the outside of the bed.  But I was broken and mangled and in a ton of pain and couldn’t get a good night’s sleep anyway.  Which side of the bed that I slept on, or if he was put out by any of it, was the least of my concerns.

I went through a phase in college where I was sleeping in my bed upside down.  I’ve never had a headboard or a footboard for that matter. Not since I left home after high school.  So technically I guess I don’t even own a bed, just a mattress set, and a basic frame. But anyway, prior to that I went through a phase where my whole body was midnight-migrating up the bed towards the pillows.  So I kept waking up with my head crammed up against the wall and my neck bent all sideways.  Then I finally decided that I should sleep in my bed upside down and it would solve my problem.  So I started making up my sheets backwards, so that at night I could sleep upside down in the bed.  It was all very strange and exciting.  There is something about sleeping upside down in bed that is akin to the feeling of making a couch pillow fort as a kid and sleeping in there.  I even convinced my boyfriend at the time to sleep upside down with me.  But I finally had to give it up for two reasons.  Mainly because my pillow kept escaping off the bottom edge of the bed and I got tired of waking up in the middle of the night and having to hunt it down.   That was annoying and very dangerous. Everyone knows you don’t want to be feeling your hands (or feet) near the opening under your bed in the middle of the night.  It’s just not safe.  (boogie monsters, gremlins, killer clowns…. God only knows what could be lurking under there.)  And the other reason was because I became convinced that with me sleeping upside down in my bed, my apartment layout was too close to a dream that I had once where there was a fire in my room.  I’m pretty certain that this dream was one of those moments where I dreamt my future.  I figured out in college that we dream our future and that déjà vu is when you actually remember that moment from your dream.  And so consequently I am convinced now that some day I will die in a fire in the middle of the night lying in bed. So ever since that dream, I have analyzed every place that I have lived to note whether the layout of my room is similar to the dream.  Some places have been close, in that the fire in my dream starts off to the left of the bed (left as in, while you are laying in bed looking towards your room, your left.)  The door to the bedroom is to the left, and outside the door is a grand spiral staircase.  Also, on the left side of the room up against that wall is a roll top desk, and that is where the fire starts, blocking the doorway and escape. But I don’t know for certain that there will be a grand spiral staircase or the roll top desk when it all goes down.   I have found when you dream your future, that very specific details like that can be misleading.  Sometimes, those specific material details will be in the real version and sometimes they are not. The more important detail of the dream is that the doorway is to the left and the fire starts by the doorway blocking it.   So anyway, when I was sleeping in my bed upside down in college, that configuration put the rest of the apartment at my feet and the door to my room at 10 O’clock and the kitchen was on the other side of that wall.  And the kitchen was totally the kind of place that a fire could get started. So coupled with the Gremlins continuously stealing my pillow and the likelihood of dying a fiery death at such a young age, I finally flipped back around in bed and have survived to tell the story.

Since I can sleep on either side of the bed, I always like to give the option to the other person.  But given the option myself, it’s more of a Feng Shui decision.  Because which side of the bed that I’m going to enter from, really depends on the location of the bedroom door or the bathroom.  And which side feels more inviting and least vulnerable to attack, were a murderer likely to break in during the middle of the night and want to strangle me.

Now the thing that really amazes me are the people that become so attached to a certain side of the bed.  Like, no matter who they sleep with or what hotel bed they are in, they have to sleep on a certain side of the bed.  I guess it’s all part of the ritual.  I can sleep on either side because I typically am a back sleeper.  But my ritual is that I have to have white noise to be able to sleep.  I can’t handle the random sounds during the night, so I have become addicted to sleeping with a fan on.   The hum of the fan lessens the other noises in the environment.  But I can’t have the air from the fan touching me because I’ll get cold.  So I have to sleep under the covers, even when it’s really hot.  But even without the fan, I still have to sleep under the covers.  Because everyone knows that if you are underneath the covers, you are so well hidden, the strangler might not even notice you in the bed.  And therefore sleeping on top of the covers increases your risk of getting strangled to death in the middle of the night.

I know that there will be people who say once you get used to sharing your bed, there is no going back.  I’ve been there, and I would agree, it’s nice to have someone to share your bed with.  And given that we are pack animals, it is entirely natural for us to enjoy sleeping with other people or animals in the bed.  And honestly, I like it too.   But really what I miss most about having someone else there is knowing that if a murderer does break in and try to strangle us in the middle of the night, I have a 50/50 chance that it will be him and not me that the murderer goes for first.  So I possibly could get out alive…  Just kidding!  No, it’s actually the waking up alone part that is the hardest thing for me to deal with.

I am totally a snoozer when the alarm goes off.  I always have been.  Unless there is something really exciting or really important going on, it doesn’t matter whether I’ve had 5 hours or 10 hours of sleep.  When the alarm goes off I’m snoozing it and going right back to sleep.  I never once have had that alarm go off and thought, oh great!  It’s finally morning and I can get up!  Actually, I’m lying.  Once in my life, that has happened.  The day before, I had started a new anti-depressant medication (this was clearly a long time ago when I still believed prescription drugs were helpful, not harmful) and then I had a migraine, so I went to bed really early.  And the next morning it was a Saturday, and I woke up at 7am without an alarm and the sun was shining and the day looked like it was going to be glorious.  And I honestly woke up and thought, the sun is up and I’m awake, I should get up and start the day!!  If only it were that easy every day…

Instead, my alarm goes off and my body instantly rejects the day.  My body rejects morning like my dog rejects spinach… chomp, chomp, chomp – pluh!  But really it’s the look on her face as the spinach falls to the floor.  Like, she would like some more please, because she has no idea that her mouth has rejected it.  The first few morning snoozes are all involuntary.  I legitimately am not aware that I am doing it.  Which is pretty amazing considering that I have to open one eye and pick up my phone to see exactly where my finger has to touch on the screen to begin the snooze-fest.  And yet I’m still not conscious of what I am doing.  There is no formulated thought in my head.  I am still mostly asleep.  Then by the 3rd or 4th snooze, I become aware that it’s morning.  Aware that my alarm clock is going off.  But still, all that I am thinking, is how awfully interruptive the noise is and how quickly I can get it to shut up. About 30 minutes in, I am finally awake enough to realize that I’ve been snoozing for a while and the understanding starts to form that this is all leading up to me getting out of bed. I’m going to have to eventually get up, like it or not, and snoozing is only making it worse.  Really, the only reason that I get out of bed each day is because I can’t turn my alarm off.  I have a sense of responsibility that will not allow me to turn the alarm off.  But I can’t take the incessant snooze…alarm…snooze…alarm cycle anymore. And that’s why I get up. But by then, an hour has passed.

I swear getting up is the hardest thing I have to do all day.  Sure my job can be stressful, but it’s not difficult.  Getting my body to wake up from sleep and convincing myself to get out of my comfy bed is the most challenging thing that I have to do each day.  Yes.  I know that is pathetic.  I have been severely broken and experienced times when walking was impossible.  Or standing for any period of time was excruciatingly painful.  So I understand that there are real life challenges that people have to face.  So yes, it is a pathetic spoiled statement to say that getting out of bed is the most difficult challenge that I have to face each day.  There are also people who understand that depression is a disease and they might know that getting out of bed can actually be a real challenge.  But the crazy thing is that I have the majority of my depression under control. Through diet, exercise, absolutely no mid-day naps ever, ever, ever.  And of course, be the change you want to see in your life.  I have those bases covered.  But I still have to sleep at night.  And every morning I start at ground zero.  Fighting for my life, fighting my disease, fighting back from the sweet escape of unconsciousness to get myself out of bed.  If only I never had to sleep.

So the thing of it is, when someone is there, I don’t hit snooze for an hour.  I usually will get up in less than 9 minutes before the second alarm goes off. Because I don’t want to be rude and keep waking the other person up with my snoozing.  If I happen to hit snooze and 9 minutes later the alarm goes off again… that’s it.  I’m mortified and I’m wide awake and leaping out of bed because I feel so bad that the alarm went off twice.  I just feel awful waking the other person up if they have the luxury of sleeping later than me.  I actually thought that after 10 years of not being able to snooze that I had outgrown the snooze habit.  Silly me.

I sincerely miss having a reason to get out of bed. Even if that reason is only that I don’t want to inconvenience someone else.  Having someone else there is kind of like an alarm clock enhancer, an anti-depression medication, and murderer-deterrent all rolled up into one.  I don’t mind giving up half of the bed and capping my midnight-migratory patterns in exchange for a helping hand to free me from the deathlike clutch of sleep-unconsciousness.  It’s just so hard to face the mornings alone.


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