I Think It Was the Wool Blanket’s Fault #SOL~13/31 2021

As the morning alarm clock strummed it’s gentle harp, my dream ceased, eyes slowly opened and witnessing the morning dawn within the cracks of the drapes, I’d realized that the night was uninterrupted. A lovely sleep was had. Two nights in a row, this occurred after many a night of 3:00am wake ups.

“I think I’ve figured out my problem!” I proclaimed to my husband, who hit the snooze button. “I think it was this wool blanket all along and I was overheating!”

“Well. . . there ya go,” he replied and he rolled over and went back to sleep. 

I’d read once that if the body overheats, it will awaken you in the middle of the night, prompting you to carry out some kind of cooling response. Hot flashes will also awaken the body, but I’ve remedied those.

I must continue to attend to this experiment. I am a student of myself.

It would be easy if my sleeping particulars were not so crucial to my ability to get a decent night’s sleep . Blankets, pillows, sounds, temperature and lightness of the room all play a role in my slumber. I’m not sure I’ve always been this way, but it seems I’ve grown more hypersensitive with age. 

The blanket situation alone is worth recording for future reference. Just in case I forget what the set up is. Or, next March when the temperature starts to change and I have problems sleeping and I don’t know why, I have documentation on record.

Just a note, my husband and I have separate blanket operations. He can sleep with one blanket in the middle of winter. I need layers, like the Princess and the Pea layers. He will have nothing to do with my shenanigans. 

Okay now, here’s the Blanket Situation:

The first layer, closest to my skin, is a very light weight, soft, fuzzy blanket. It feels like a thin fleece, but I don’t think it’s fleece. I don’t know what it is. But, it invites me into my bed at night and wraps around me like a burrito, unlike the cool sheen of a sheet, which actually shocks me upon entering bed. A flannel sheet might resolve this, but it seems mine have all disappeared. For now, this blanket acts as my top sheet. Did I mention it’s the color of coffee with cream? Such bliss. Visual and tactile.

The next layer is a lightweight quilt that I made with my own two hands. It’s design is a small pinwheel pattern with fabrics of burgundy, plaids and paisleys. The entire quilt, once pieced together and a thin cotton batting between the patchwork layer and that backing, was hand stitched close to every seam with the tiniest of stitches. I have no idea how long it must have taken me to do all this work! I hadn’t recorded these details, probably because I was too busy quilting. I used to make quilts when my four children were small. I do believe it was meditative therapy each day to keep me sane. I’m not sure I could focus long enough to make a quilt like this today. We didn’t have the internet back then.

The third layer is a too small quilt that my mother made. I’m unsure why I started using this quilt because I wrestle with it – my feet stick out and this bugs me. Often, I am up in the middle of the night rearranging the blanket to take care of my poor toes. Yet – it’s flannel, and once again, these sensory qualities reign over size. 

The fourth layer is a large beautiful pink wool blanket that I purchased at an antique shop. I have a small admiration for wool blankets and if I spot one and it’s under 50 bucks, I’ll snatch it. They are draped over an old wooden ladder in my living room, so I suppose I could argue they are a decor item. My husband seems to like these, too, because I will find random ones in his hunting duffle bags. You can’t have too many. And, if I do get to that point, I’ll pass them off to my sister who will cut them up and make mittens out of them.

This wool blanket and top layer of my bedding plays two functions. On cold winter nights, it’s a needed extra layer for warmth, but it also adds the added weight my body seems to need to lull me back to sleep. 

Yet, I despair if it creeps up to my face and around my neck or chin. It’s itchy and I just can’t deal with that kind of stress at night. Also, as I said at the beginning of my story, midway through the night, it may cause overheating and wake me up. So, it’s risky business if I use it or not. I awaken if I’m cold as well, too, though. Such conundrums. 

Now, I know you are thinking I should just get a weighted blanket. But, I like my layers. I can peel back what I don’t need and add more to my liking. So, there seems to be more temperature control with these layers. 

The whole set up changes in the summertime and don’t get me started on my turmoil if I have to sleep somewhere else without my setup. In fact, if possible, I roll my pillows up inside my blankets, like a sleeping bag and attempt to haul it all with me – completely ignoring the resistance and eye-balling of my husband. I will walk right by him. 

So, anyway, I just wanted to be clear here that the 3:00am wake up COULD be from the top wool blanket. 

Let’s hope.

Things aren’t as difficult as we make them out to be.

NOTE TO SELF: If waking up at night, leave off a blanket.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Sleeping Issues SOS ~ #SOL 10/31 2021

It was another restless night. FALLING asleep is not my problem, but waking up at 3:00am and wrestling for hours to get back to sleep is. Often I don’t get back to sleep. This has been going on for months and months. 

I’ve always been a hard sleeper – needing a solid 8 hours. But, in the last year, it seems all that has changed. 

Certainly, the good old hot flashes play a role, but I have remedied that and they have diminished. One cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning has been my rule. The electronics go off a couple of hours before bed, so only book reading sings sweet lullabies to my eyes. 

These strategies help me GET to sleep. I need some good strategies for that 3:00am waking hour so I avoid my usual default strategy of thinking through my book of worries. 

A dear friend of mine, who is a golfer, shared this strategy once. He picks a golf course he has played at and then reimagines himself playing the entire course, starting at hole #1 – all the strokes and penalties included. He said he never makes it to hole #9. 

I don’t have golf courses. I wish I did. Maybe I should start golfing.

Elizabeth Gilbert says to get up and do something. Anything. As soon as you begin to think, you’ll go down into a state of rumination. Avoid that at all costs. No horizontal thinking.

I’ve tried that and then I fall asleep in my reading chair and wake up in a brain fog and a kink in my neck.

My husband thinks I need snuggling. Well. . . 

In some research, I found that humans used to sleep in two shifts, a “first” and “second” sleep. In between people would get up for a few hours and do quiet chores, read, write or other things and then go back to sleep for a few hours before their day began. This apparently faded out in the 17th Century. Perhaps that would have been a better time period for me.

This post is an SOS plea. What are your strategies that help? Warm milk? Sleep apps?

#sleep problems  #SOS  #needinghelp  #insomnia  #sweet lullabies  #counting sheep

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

A writing practice can be a means of “gaining a perspective on where you are in the movement of your life” and be a medium to “explore the possibilities of your future in the context of your whole life.” ~ Ira Progoff