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.

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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.


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  • 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!

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