Tall Two Year Olds

“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.” – JoJo Jensen

Do you remember when you were young and you could sleep anywhere? Seriously, when I was young I could sleep soundly on the floor and wake up chipper and pain free. It didn’t matter what kind of mattress was on a bed (soft, hard, in between) and half the time I didn’t even sleep with a pillow. I also slept in weird positions – flat on my stomach, often with my arms tucked under me, bent at the elbows.

Gradually as I have aged this has changed. I had to quit sleeping with my elbows bent – it made my arms hurt during the day. I had to start sleeping with a pillow under my arm (I’m a side sleeper) or I had neck pain. Really hard mattresses hurt my hips and soft ones make my back sore. Oh, and I can only sleep now if I’m horizontal – no falling asleep sitting up no matter how tired I am. The last few times I’ve camped the nights have been LONG – between the hard ground or uncomfortable cot and the cold I have been relieved when dawn arrived and I could just get up.

Even when conditions are ideal, I will find myself waking after six hours of sleep – what happened to sleeping in? or sleeping for nine or ten hours? Some nights I wake up after just a couple of hours of sleep and then have the aggravating chore of trying to go back to sleep (nothing like going to work with three hours of sleep under my belt – I call them my zombie days). I’m not a fan of this part of aging.

Here’s another thing that has changed – I grew up in a home where bed linens consisted of crisp bottom sheet, crisp top sheet, and then blanket(s) on top. It made me crazy when my kids would just curl up in their blankets and not bother to sleep between the sheets. All my arguments about how it is so much easier to wash sheets than blankets fell on deaf ears. But NOW – I have had to join the blanket brigade. A year or so ago, I started waking up in the middle of the night with cold feet, even with plenty of blankets on the bed. I’ve always struggled with cold feet, but usually if I went to sleep with warm feet, they stayed that way. I tried socks, but they were only marginally helpful. I started wrapping my feet and legs in a plush throw blanket and finally stayed warm. So now I’m making my bed with the bottom sheet, a plush blanket, and then the top sheet and other blankets as needed. It just feels wrong but I stay warm. I might need to apologize to my kids …

It really is a shame that sleep has become so complicated – because it is truly blissful to wake up after a good nights sleep and realize I didn’t wake up midway through the night. I foresee the need for better sleep hygiene – you know the drill – putting away electronics sooner in the evening, going to bed at the same time every night, exercise and better diet. The rebel me isn’t convinced … she thinks reading into the wee hours of the night isn’t worth giving up! She also conveniently forgets the adage about becoming a tall two year old. 😊

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