Sleep Studies

There's always the same tired joke.

During downtime with co-workers, and at dinner parties with would-be friends it's always the same old song - couple sleep habits.

She takes all the covers. He snores. She kicks in her sleep. He thrashes about violently. She wants her space. He always wants to cuddle. And so on.

Who knows why we end up revealing such intimacies around practical strangers, but for some reason it's just barely within the limits of appropriate table-talk and people feel compelled to tell it how it is.

I'm well aware of this trope, but time and time again I've found myself confessing that I totally do weird things in my sleep, like manage to consistently turn the bedsheets 180 degrees. Or wake up wearing one sock. That if I had my way (and often I do), I'd sleep like the extended version of the Vitruvian Man. That I frequently talk in my sleep, saying weirdo things to Jared in plain, daylight English like, "Our love transcends space and time."

(Now that there's a baby involved it's gotten a bit crazier. Turns out, when you're a new parent/zombie, your sleep schedule undergoes major surgery. Now it's augmented to a 3-1 x 3. That's a 3-hour stretch of semi-satisfying slumber followed by 1 hour of awake. Repeat 3 times.)

So we all sleep. And we all have interesting stories that accompany. If I tell you X funny story about my sleeping arrangements, then somehow we've shared some moment of utter humanness. If I can make the table cough with laughter, all the better. If I put you to sleep with my sleep story, bad on me.

Maybe it's that we're trying to find something both unique and universal to discuss. We want to relate using this most basic human experience, and at the same time disclose this intimate memorabilia for those acquaintances we're trying to woo into our social circles.

For how often I like to joke about the repetitiveness of these jokes, I always love to hear them, even from people I mostly just tolerate. There is something beautiful about sleep stories. There is something even more beautiful about sleep.

Sleep is total honesty. There is zero pretention in sleep. You are what you are. You are in loose-fitting, shapeless clothes of the "Team-Building Exercise '99" variety. You are without makeup. You are without shoes. You have limited control over your occasional snoring or flailing of limbs. You are arguably at your most vulnerable. Apt to blurt out things hiding deep within your subconscious when you are defenseless against your own mouth.

Sleeping next to someone is a scary proposition. To share it is the ultimate act of trust. To share limbs and sheets. To literally share dreams.

And since people only pick a few, or perhaps just one to ever share sleep with, it feels exciting to hear how others sleep.

She likes to eat English muffins during bouts of insomnia. He sleeps like a corpse. She has recurring nightmares about her teeth falling out. He sweats when he sleeps. She likes to cuddle. He likes to be the inside spoon. She once sleepwalked to the kitchen and fell asleep cradling a baguette.  And so forth.

I guess I'll take the same tired stories.



EKD said...

Um, I've been waiting for a new post from you and you mention the baby, but come on, post a picture!! I want to see the little man!

Once, when we were still swaddling Ava, Pete found a dirty diaper wrapped up with her in bed. I must have been so tired that I didn't realize I hadn't tossed the diaper and swaddled it in with her.

Sometimes, Pete sleeps with his knees up. Weird.

Amanda Seria Cook said...

That is hilarious. And true!