To Sleep Perchance Refreshed

What kind of sleeper are you? Do you drop off like a stone and awaken refreshed, or do you need pitch black and silence to drift off to dream?

Naptime with Ana

Naptime with Ana

I go from one extreme to the other – I sleep like a rock (sometimes due to medication) or I am restless as all get out. Most of the time, I fall asleep pretty easily especially if I take my nighttime medications around 8 or 9. I try very hard to go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00, but I’ve been slipping a bit.

I usually sleep without disruption – but in a house with pets, disruption is the name of the game. Someone is getting on or off the bed at least 50% of the night, sometimes at the foot of the bed and sometimes on my actual head (oh, those elderly cats.) We live about 3 blocks away from a Pgh Fire Station so occasionally, a very loud siren/lights scenario wakes me up.

All of the mental health professionals will tell you – a consistent sleep schedule is your best tool for good health. So I strive for 8 hours, in bed and asleep by 11 and up at 7. That doesn’t always work – lately I’m struggling because my allergy medication makes me even more drowsy than usual in the morning. And sometimes I get hit with this wave of exhaustion around late afternoon and have to fight off a nap. It didn’t work on Saturday – I just had to close my eyes around 5:30 and woke up at 7 which really destroyed my schedule. So my sleep is disrupted most often because I permit that schedule to be thrown off by some whim or impulse or whatever.

So waking up “refreshed” is a misnomer. I wake up and typically some creature is demanding my attention. When you have senior dogs, the instant they move in the AM – they need to be rushed to the door. No stopping to pee. No time to grab your glasses. Jump over the cat crying for breakfast and ¬†get to the door ASAP. Otherwise, I or Ledcat spend some time cleaning up a senior dog mess. Then I put them outside & have to decide if I can use the bathroom myself or if I need to stay in visual contact with one of the elder dogs. If I’m lucky, I set the coffee to autopilot and can smell the promise of waking up in the air. Dogs come back in soon when its 3 degrees outside. Then they want breakfast, but I have to shoosh them into the living room so the elder cats can be fed – they’ve been shrieking this whole time – and Ledcat can finish getting ready for work. I usually sit on the couch with coffee hoping to jolt myself out of the antihistamine rapture. I can tell it is working when I start to sneeze. It is spring after all. My eyes are watering, but I’m awake.

Is that refreshed? I consider it a victory if I don’t go back to bed or slide down the couch into a reclining position.

Sometimes I wake up around 5 AM with a horrible feeling of doom and dread. So I have to decide if I will take medication to get back to sleep or get up. Getting up used to be fine – Ledcat sleeps soundly. But now it once again involves elderly dogs who are both awake and somewhat groggy. Nothing eases early morning anxiety like whisper-yelling “come on, I said go outside, let’s go, come on” loud enough for a deaf old dog and soft enough to not wake a human. Occasionally, I’ll stay in bed and try to slip on my headphones without waking the dogs – this is very difficult to do because they have built-in “Mom” radar.

I can typically fall asleep anywhere. I once fell asleep at a Bruce Springsteen concert. But I prefer to have at least 30 minutes of downtime – low lights, no music or at least not WYEP Block Party (oh my god, so not soothing) and either read or just think a bit. Hi Fr Thnx 4 Pst. We have a “no tv after 10 PM in the bedroom” rule which we break each week at least twice. There’s a backup “no tv after 11 PM in the bedroom” rule which helps but sometimes gets violated, too.

I’ve talked myself into taking a nap now … maybe I’ll finish this post later.


  1. Pittsburgh Jagoff Catcher:

    Haaa.. wish I could get 8 good hours. Some if it is me and some if it, like you, is due to a pet. I have a dog that pees, eats and poops (in that order) every morning. Unfortunately he does not have a snooze alarm!! Unlike you, I fall asleep with the TV sleep timer on… usually on late night talk shows!

%d bloggers like this: