Contrary to popular belief, quiet is not always conducive to sleep.
When my parents were first married, my mother got in the habit of falling asleep to the sound of the tv turned low whenever my dad was working late. It kept her company in the empty apartment.
Books on tape and now audible are my friends to quiet a too busy mind when my thoughts and to do lists for the next day won’t let me relax.
Those sounds are helpful in unwinding and settling in to sleep.
I have a new challenge. Pettigrew now sleeps in our room most nights. He doesn’t always start out the evening with us, but he usually makes his way up the stairs before the night is done.
He is not a quiet sleeper.
He snores, snuffles, sighs, adjusts his bedding, and click click clicks his way from one spot to another as his claws tap the floor and his tags jingle jangle. (He has identified five preferred sleeping locations in our room.)
Why does he switch from
- the lovely dog bed,
- to the bare boards under the table in the corner,
- to the scratchy carpet,
- to the beach towel I put on top of the carpet so it won’t be so scratchy,
- to finally wedge himself on the floor between his dog bed and our bed?
I haven’t a clue. Perhaps it’s his version of flipping to the cooler side of the pillow.
The bottom line is, I always know he’s there. It’s comforting to wake and hear him sighing in his sleep as I drift back to dreamland.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If I wake and don’t hear him, I wonder. Instead of sleeping I strain to detect sounds of his rest. The soft exhalations of my husband* next to me are not the same as Pettigrew’s slumberous breath. The more I wonder the more I wake.
On really bad nights I creep out of bed, desperately trying to detect the white tips of his tail and paws in the blackness, sliding my feet along the floor so I don’t inadvertently step on him. After all, I don’t want to wake him, I just want to know he’s OK.
Just as when my kids were babies and I would stand over their cribs watching their small chests rise and fall with each breath, the quiet keeps me up.
*Yes, my husband reads my blog. I’m sticking with “soft exhalations” to describe his sleeping.