Friday, September 26, 2008

Trouble Sleeping

I don't know many people who have trouble sleeping.

I wonder if is because most of the people I know and are close to are men.

I used to think it was just me, just a personal problem. When I was much younger, my family labeled me a night owl. When I didn't have to be up at a specific time for something like school or summer camp, I would/could stay up quite late, for a kid at least, and sleep well into the day. At sleepovers, I was usually the last one to fall asleep. Even when I had to get up early for school, I still did not fall asleep when I was sent to bed. I would play with my stuffed animals, having them act out stories, or I'd listen to my walkman or I'd read under the covers with a flashlight. (This is how I managed to read the first four Anne Rice vampire books when I was 12 and deemed too young to read them by my mother.) As I became a teenager, I was just labeled a typical teenager, who liked to stay up late and could sleep well into the day.

But none of this really changed as I got older. In fact, with the depression and medication, it got worse. Also, with the depression came slightly manic periods. It was never enough to be diagnosed as bipolar, especially as anti-depressants alone made things better instead of worse as they would for most bipolar individuals, and I didn't have the behavioral component required by the DSM. But I would have periods of depression and times where I would sleep for days on end, followed by periods of increased activity, inspiration, and sleeplessness. Strangely, sometimes when I'm depressed I can't sleep either. Sleeping medications don't work either. Rarely do they make me sleep at all. If they do, I sleep for 12+ hours, which I can manage on my own, thankyouverymuch.

So, I realize that much of it is chemical and personal, but I also wonder how much of it is a gender thing. I've often thought about this as I layed next to a (male) lover, unable to sleep. Hours and hours on end, laying next to a partner, wanting to sleep and unable to. And, unlike when I'm sleeping alone, it's not like I can do something, like read a book, until I fall asleep. At least with TyRoy, I could watch TV or a movie while he slept, as the television in the bedroom being on didn't bother him. When BT and I slept at home, there was no TV in the bedroom and I didn't want to turn on a light to read. A couple times I snuck off into the den to watch tv and play on the computer. He'd always cuddle me until he fell into a light sleep, at most ten minutes, then wake up enough to say goodnight again and roll over onto his stomach. (I find that most men tend to do this to some extent.) I remember when we were in St Louis, Vegas, then LA, I would pull my mp3 player out and listen to it, mouthing the words, singing softly. BT must have half-heard it in his sleep, because he asked about it one morning. I really like sharing my bed with my lovers but.... it's so difficult to just lay there until I fall asleep when every man tends to fall asleep within minutes of laying down and it takes me....hours, or so it seems.

While I had entertained the thought that it was a gender difference, after hearing so many married/coupled hetro women talk about their male partners falling asleep, snoring, etc, I had never taken it very seriously. Then I was reading one of my trashy vampire books and the narrator mentioned how all the men in her bed had, as usual, fallen asleep before she had. Granted, it was just more anecdotal evidence to add to collection, but it made me want to start asking the question outloud. Of the straight men I've asked so far, none of them can name a bed partner who regularly fell asleep before them.

So, please, chime in with your experience- If you are a woman who has shared a bed with men, have you ever had a partner that you fell asleep before? Vice versa if you are a man. I'm also curious as to the experience of men who share a bed with other men and women who share a bed with other women. Also, do you feel like you have trouble sleeping? Is it just getting to sleep or is it staying asleep as well?


MP said...

Oh the bliss of falling asleep first. I know I don't have to admit to being part of the 10 minute cuddle, roll over on my belly crowd...

Ava said...

I don't actually remember alot about the one time we slept together in the same bed... then again I was having a HORRIBLE gallbladder attack, causing me to throw up on almost everything in the room over the course of the night soooooo..... it wasn't so romantic.....

Ava said...

Cassie left this on my Myspace version:
My experience was that before my last episode I was having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep if I was. I was not taking my meds regularly. I was still in denial. Didn't have a therapist. Now I rarely have time getting to sleep. If I do I just take a xanax and that helps. What you are describing to me sounds like me a few years ago. You can only go so long like that. Are you seeing a doctor? What meds are you on? As to falling asleep I can't really add anything to that because I have been single for almost 3 years. But before that I was always the one that was frustrating almost crying because I couldn't fall to sleep. Let me know if you need anything. Love ya.