A Public Service Announcement

There is nothing as healthy, as replenishing or as downright delicious as a good night’s sleep.

A long, uninterrupted sleep is one of the most delicious things ever!

And this week, for the first time in years, I got to experience that again.

No, I do not have a baby who started sleeping through the night.

Nor did a new puppy finally grow into its bladder.

Neither have I returned to the day shift after working nights.

Nope. I owe my happy nights to these.

IMG_0794

I have discovered that there is an inverse relationship between ageing and sleep – the more I age, the less I sleep. Actually, the more my husband and I age, the less I sleep.

To be brutally specific, the more challenging it became for perimenopausal me to fall and stay asleep, the louder and longer and more often my husband snored.

We’ve been through several phases through the years.

There was the gently-push-his-shoulder-so-he-rolls-over stage. That worked until rolling over didn’t stop the snoring.

There was the ‘get-immediately-angry-and-elbow-him-in-the-ribs stage.’ And then lay in bed seething (and awake) because he had woke me up . . . again.

There was the flounce-out-of-bed-and-down-to-my-office stage. Unfortunately, flouncing is usually propelled by anger and it’s not easy to fall back to sleep once succumbing to anger’s adrenalin.

I think I stayed in anger for so long because, although he didn’t like it when I didn’t sleep with him, he did nothing to try to alleviate his part of the problem.

Oh, wait.

He did try to wear the snore strips a couple of times (the ones “Santa” put in his stocking one year).

But they didn’t work.

I finally reached the point where I was able to drop the anger dance and just quietly leave whether it was ten minutes after slipping into bed or (more usually) in that stretch of time between 1 and 3 when my rising sleep cycle and his snoring intersected.

These stages took several years to unfold and were a real strain on the marriage. There’s nothing rational about it when examined in the cold light of day, but it’s very challenging to be loving and soft with the man who robs me of my sleep night after night.

I tried all manner (and color) of ear plugs, including the waxy ones wrapped in cotton batting and the blue, plastic screw-in ones that weren’t very pleasant to have in my ears. (I ‘forgot’ those ones in a hotel room somewhere.)

There was a period of time that I didn’t even bother to try sleeping with my husband. I said ‘goodnight,’ went to bed downstairs, got a good night’s sleep from start to finish (most nights). And felt mega guilty for deserting the marriage bed. Especially, if the perimenopause fairy kept me awake anyway.

I didn’t want to sleep apart. There’s a sweet intimacy that comes with sleeping night after night beside your life partner. I believe that physical proximity gives our bodies the uninterrupted space and time to communicate and gently work out the thorny issues our egos won’t let us resolve when we’re ‘awake.’ (Ha! so does that mean we’re more ‘awake’ when we’re sleeping than when we’re not?) Not to mention that’s it’s just plain nice to snuggle close with someone whose body is a perfect fit or (even in the midst of a hot flash) reach out a foot to make contact.

Unfortunately, that sweet communion can only happen at the theta level where sleep occurs, which can’t happen when there’s a jackhammer on the pillow next to you.

 So we wrestled with the whole ‘deserting the marriage bed’ thing until the day came when he admitted that he got a much better sleep when I wasn’t raining blows upon his body in the middle of the night.

Only after I stopped the anger dance and we both dropped into acceptance were we able to settle into a routine that worked for us.

Interesting.

Only after I dropped into acceptance, did I receive these:

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They don’t look like much, but these little beauties are the elixir of sleep (and, therefore, of LIFE)!

These ear plugs are perfectly formed to fit my ears. Notice the jutty-out curvy parts. Apparently, my ear canal has an interesting shape (which explains why the other earplugs wouldn’t work for me).

The lovely technician at the Costco Hearing Center squirted cold, tickly gunk  into each of my ears. In the minute and a half that it took for me to fill out her form, the mold was made. After years of sleep deprivation, it took ten minutes to make the molds and 10 days for them to arrive.

The best part?

They were only $52.65.

Fifty bucks.

For a full night’s sleep.

Night after night after night.

It’s a bargain!

And I even got to pick what color I wanted.

How does it get any better than that?

So, if you, too, are struggling with sleep deprivation because of extraneous noise (be it from snoring spouses or yowling cats or neighborhood parties or jack-hammer’s destroying the foundation of your house) get thee to the nearest hearing center.

Or the nearest Costco. I don’t know if all hearing centers provide this humanitarian service.

And ask for the earplugs that fit in the ear. Apparently, the ones that fit over the ear are uncomfortable to sleep with.

I am eternally indebted to my friend, Peggy, for telling me about these and now you can be eternally indebted to me for passing it on to you. Let’s create a chain of cheerful, perky, well rested eternally indebted folk, shall we?

I just might have the answer to world peace right here, nestled in my happy ear canals.

(Because . . . p.s. . . they also work when I’m writing in my office and my husband is making phone calls on the other side of the not-so-soundproof ceiling right above me.)

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4 Responses to A Public Service Announcement

  1. Candy Scott says:

    I know I have a few friends out there who are going to love! this information, I have heard the perimenopause/menopause stage of our life, referred to as a womens Second Spring, but it is so hard to embrace all that encompasses when the sleepless nights are never ending..I’m so happy for you and for everyone you’ve enlightened!

  2. Peggy Allen says:

    Yipeee!! Way to go Max! I amy be slow but I get there. I am so happy to hear they work. I can only imagine your peace of mind. Sending love to you all, Peggy

  3. maxinespence says:

    Thanks, Peggy! I owe you BIG TIME for telling me about these magical little critters.

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