You had a long day. Like, one of those days where you were on your feet moving around for 10 hours straight, people emotionally drained you, and even eating a lunch felt like some massive task you had to do while accomplishing another 40 chores. Your feet ache, your legs are tired, your mind has had enough of it’s own bullshit and everyone else’s. You’re cold, you’re hot, you’re in need of a shower, you want to eat dinner. You finally get to the dinner table and then sit down in your favorite spot in the living room.
It’s so easy to distinguish when you’ve been in a state of discomfort for some elongated period of time. But the severity of the discomfort is what will define what the actual comfort is. Once you’re in that chair or sofa or even just kris-kross-applesauce on the floor, you find a great sense of satisfaction that leaves you feeling at ease. Tasks have been accomplished and now you can enjoy your time to rest.
A few quickly-passed hours later and it’s time for bed. You get your ass up, brush your teeth, clean up any residual mess from your few hours of quiet time/TV time/hobby time (whatever floats your boat), and make your way to the bedroom. Again, you plop your ass into bed and perhaps you read or you journal or you and the person next to you do the thaaaaaaaaaang (WINK). Whatever, but now it’s time to write the last letter of the alphabet repeatedly until morning. It’s time to venture into the depths of REM sleep where life becomes a fantasy. You’re almost excited to sleep, but don’t get too excited for it otherwise you’re going to wake back up (done it, ugh).
The pillow itches. You shift. The comforter isn’t in the perfect position. You pull it up. Your body feels a little hot. You let your feet hang out the bottom of the bed. Your eyebrow is itchy. You scratch it. Your shirt feels too tight. You take it off. Your bladder feels a little full. You empty it… in the bathroom. You get back into bed and now the whole damn process starts over again until you find the right level of comfort to fall asleep.
But wait, we just sat down in a chair/sofa/kris-kross-applesauce and were perfectly fine there, almost falling asleep. Why are we struggling so much in the bed? Why are these minute shifts, itches, temperature differences stealing from the comfort level we need to fall asleep? Why do we need the pillow to sit JUST right so we can sleep, meanwhile on the couch your head is twisted like a ballpark pretzel and you’re struggling to stay awake?
Why is it that we can take a level of comfort that is earned and make the most of it, but getting into bed and falling asleep can be like a battle to the death but fighting 5 ants spread out all over your body (make sure to think about this as SOON as you get into bed)? Is it because we’re being cornered by our own thoughts that all of a sudden my eyebrow feels like it needs to be scratched? Is it the lack of any sensory input that allows us to feel all the tiny sensory input? Like the tiny amount of urine that’s piled up in our bladders or the fact that our shirt is just SLIGHTLY too tight? Is it a fact that as we become more comfortable we actually become less comfortable?
Holy shit, isn’t that quite the thought. As we become MORE comfortable, we can actually be LESS comfortable?
So just like the yin and the yang, we need the discomfort to actually feel comfort. Well, that’s mind blowing. But that’s also not going to be a helpful thought when I lay my head onto the pillow tonight. The fact is, we need our sleep and we need a good night’s sleep at that. A shit night’s sleep leaves us feeling…well, like shit. So as we make our bedroom routine, our bedroom, and our bed more comfortable, do we make our evening’s slumber more difficult to attain? Are we putting ourselves at risk by making a sensory deprivation tank of our rooms? No, that can’t be the case…but when my pillow needs to be moved a fraction of an inch before it can be deemed “comfortable” by whatever bodily powers-that-be, it’s quite frankly a little irking.
Why can’t EVERY time our heads hit the pillow be the evening that we instantly fall asleep? Why, even when we’re exhausted, is it difficult to put our minds and bodies to rest for 8 hours? It can’t be because my shirt is static clinging to my belly full of dinner or because my cheek spontaneously needs a scratch. Did we not prepare correctly? Did we give ourselves too much comfort beforehand while on the couch?
Perhaps that’s it. Maybe it’s the giving of comfort beforehand. Our body and our minds were tricked into thinking that this is the place to rest and then as we faded into a façade of comfort the bed almost feels like a disruption?
As you can tell, I’m only leaning into my own sleeping difficulties. There are evenings when laying in bed, even after a long day of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, I will toss and turn for an hour or two looking for that sense of comfort so that everything can feel at ease and drift into that other dimension we know so little about. I don’t want to say it can be a battle some evenings, but some evenings, it can be a battle. It’s frustrating, which only keeps me up longer. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what will keep me awake, but all I can do is work to let my mind drift whilst reading a book, turning off the lights, and just letting my mind wander into it’s own bedroom. Or I can drink a bottle of Nyquil, but that doesn’t seem like the solution either.
Nothing works all the time for anything. It’s really just a level of probabilities. I’m sure we’ve all had a day where your car’s engine wouldn’t turn over. Nothing is 100%. All we can do is set ourselves up the best we can and trust the process. Or drink a bottle of Nyquil.