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March 16, 2009

I think about sleep a lot. We don’t always have a good relationship. I’m not sure why. I wish we did, but sometimes I find that it’s my fault we don’t.

I’m babysitting two little girls ages three and five. I’ve long since given up on the phrase “sleeping like a baby” because I’d rather sleep for more than three hours at a time. Tonight I saw the three year old fall asleep at 6:45pm while watching cartoons. I carried her upstairs, put her in bed, and then got her up later to go to the bathroom, and she slept through it all. I started thinking they should change the phrase to “sleeping like a child”.

Then she started waking up and crying randomly. This reminded me of the madness that was sometimes a part of my sleep as a child. I used to have crazy dreams, walk around the house, and talk. I also remember having trouble falling asleep when I was little sometimes.

This makes me wonder how our sleep patterns develop. Are they tied into our personalities or based on our circumstances and environment? I’ve been thinking about the people I know and the way they sleep but can’t seem to find any consistent connections between personalities and patterns (I’m mostly referring to how easily people fall asleep since that’s the problem I have).

I feel that discipline plays a big part in falling asleep. If I was more consistent about when I went to bed and got up that would help. Not eating and drinking before bedtime would also help. Not distracting myself with communication or the internet would help. But I don’t think any of these things are the cause of my problems.

I have a personality where I like human interraction. I found it to be really difficult when I lived in Spain and would lie in bed at night, unable to sleep, and have no way of communicating with anyone. I didn’t have a phone or computer. Not even morse code. I read a lot of books in those days. I think somewhere in my mind I make myself stay up because I don’t want to miss something.

My mind and body can’t ever seem to come to an agreement at bedtime. My body is so tired, but for some reason my mind decides we’re staying up forever. If there isn’t anyone to talk to then I’m going to think about everything possible. I’m going to worry about the shoes I spent $54 on and don’t fit right and why did I have to throw away the box and return paper and what will I wear and maybe I can sell them on ebay but I won’t get much for them and I need the money because I haven’t worked and will my foot ever feel normal and when will my doctor clear me and will I be able to get things done before then and will I have to fly the 900 when I go back and will I be absolutely miserable and will I be able to get the time off in May for all the weddings and wasn’t there something else I had to plan for and where will we stay for all these events and will I ever have a normal life and why am I still awake?

Get it?

Back to my original thoughts – I wonder if we have a sleep personality that is as hard to change as our real one. I wonder why my old roommate could lie down, fall asleep immediately, never move all night, and as far as she knows has never had a dream. How did she get on sleep’s good side? I’m sure someone has already done the research and knows the answers. Maybe one of these nights when I can’t sleep I’ll learn about it.

For now, I’m going to see if sleep and I are friends tonight. I have to get two kids ready for school in the morning and I’m a little out of practice.

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