May 20, 2014

The Lament of a Light Sleeper !


I am sleep deprived and bleary eyed as I write this. My brain as soggy as soaked bread. I would do anything, anything for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Eight hours of restful sleep, we are repeatedly told, is optimal for health. Well I honestly don’t remember when I last got those 8 hrs. I am perpetually moving round like a zombie, in a state of a permanent Jet Lag.

You see, I am what is called a “Light Sleeper”. This means that even a pin falling in a room miles away will wake me up. That for me the sound of water being poured in a glass four rooms away will be like the roar of the Niagara and will jolt me out of sweet slumber. That for me the tick tock of a clock or the gentle whirring of a fan are unbearable noises.

I so envy people who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. I need to set-up a proper environment to fall asleep . First, I will push and pummel my pillow into a comfortable shape and then toss and turn till I find the perfect position to lie in. Then I need silence. ‘Silence’ you see is the most important thing here. And silence is something I never get. It seems my whole neighborhood has an uncanny way of knowing when I am about to sleep. 

As soon as I hit my head on the pillow, they swing into action with the precision of an army band – a badly tuned army band. The people living upstairs will chose that precise time to move about their furniture and close their doors with a bang. There will a pressure cooker whistling merrily somewhere a few houses away. Not to be outdone, Chopra Uncle from next door will chose that opportune time to hawk and spit and generally gargle away to glory in his bathroom. Every sound of his ablutions crystal clear to me.

Even if I do manage to fall asleep in this cacophony of sounds, most of the nights I am jostled rudely out of my slumber by late-nighters who will bang their car doors loudly, climb the stairs noisily or generally hold loud conversations right under my window about how difficult it is to find parking at night.
And of course once you are up, you can’t go back to sleep. You will count innumerable sheep in all the languages you know, you will pick up the most boring book on your book shelf hoping it will lull you gently back into la la land; but no, sleep will continue to elude you.

Light sleepers like me meet their own private hell when they are travelling.

Invariably, always without fail on long flights I will end up next to a fellow who snores. I will sit there after the lights have been dimmed, wide awake in my cramped airline seat, while next to me the guy will continue his near perfect impersonation of a chainsaw.

I have lost count of the number of hours I have spent in flights and trains trying to amuse myself with the different kinds of snores that I can hear. There is of course the chainsaw impersonation, then there is the continuous gurgling noise deep in the throat that will suddenly morph into something like a huge nasal snort before subsiding down to gurgles again. Then there are some people who lie there with their mouths half open - like fish gasping for water- who will make a continuous gentle soothing sound, which will almost lull you to sleep and suddenly without warning it will morph into an ugly sound like a generator starting. These are the ones that give you a nervous breakdown.

Sometimes it's people whom you least expect to snore that surprise you the most. There was a very delicate, very small Japanese lady next to me on a flight once. She didn’t seem capable of producing even a peep, leave alone snores. But once she fell asleep and started snoring it was like hearing Mt. Fuji rumble just before it erupts into an volcano.

And there really should be a special place in hell reserved for people who will snooze their alarms every 10 minutes but will not get up.

I have shaken out of deep slumber innumerable times in hotels by alarms that are not my own. I sit there, wide wake, my heart thudding violently as the alarm goes on and on. Once the alarm is switched off I try to get back to sleep just to be woken up again by the same alarm every ten minutes. Eventually the damn alarm will rouse the whole hotel and half the city but not the man who snoozes it is supposed to wake.

The one thing, I would kill for, gladly sell my soul for is a sound proof room. And till I get that, I continue to stumble through life in a state of permanent sleep deprivation!

37 comments:

  1. Ah...........I hear you. My mom is your type. Me, I can hit the pillow and create new rhythms in snores. Yes, I am what the call blessed to be able to sleep on any pillow or bed. Tumne pata nahin kya paap kiya hai? :P

    Loved reading you, Ruch...................totally LOVED!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. errr .. I did hear those snores in Mumbai :-P Thank you BlogwatiGee .. I am so glad you loved what you read :-P

      Delete
  2. I am laughing trying to imagine that Japanese lady snoring :P My dad was a sound sleeper, we had been to the Nehru planetarium and the narrator there askd us to imagine it is 11:30 at night and the lights were switched off. My dad took him seriously and slept through the entire show with all the noises around :P I am like you, need my silence and the lights to be switched off... The latter is easy to get but the silence.... :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I envy people who can sleep just about anywhere !

      Delete
  3. I feel for you Ruch. Really do. My mother is a very light sleeper and whenever she visits, I often find her waking up to the sound of the train chugging away on the railway tracks a good 8 kms away :P May you be blessed with sound proof rooms wherever you go :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you SId ! Sound Proof rooms is what I need ! And I can so empathize with your mom !

      Delete
  4. I'm a light sleeper, too, though I can sleep through doorbells and miss the househelp occasionally.
    (Probably through sheer exhaustion caused by light sleeping). Let us mutually sympathise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I slept through door bells. The neighbor's door bell wakes me up ! Thanks for reading Dipali.

      Delete
  5. Oh ho, poor you! I am a light sleeper too but nowhere near you. I completely understand your pain because I know what bad sleep does to me. It turns me into a witch and G will corroborate that :). I need my 8 hours or at least 7 hours daily or I can't function. Train and plane journeys leave me sleepy eyed too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohh lack of sleep turns me into a nasty person !

      Delete
  6. I am a soundddd sleeper. But cannot sleep well on trains or aeroplanes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am a sound sleeper as well but I have one problem. In the early hours, I become the alarm clock for my alarm clock. I don't even wait for it to ring instead I am wide awake about 30 minutes before it is due to ring.
    I agree with you about those souls who snooze their alarms every 10 minutes but will not get up. They are the blessed souls!
    Probably a periodic massage therapy might help you Ruchira.
    Loved the post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh! My hubby faces the same problem & if I have to get up while he is asleep i have to tip toe in the room! perhaps cotton ear plugs could help.

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh-oh!
    sorry to know about the above. It sure must be getting so weary for the body since it aches to rest...

    Try meditation or maybe some calm music prior to bed time. That will help lull your super active consciousness thus, making you go into slumber under any circumstances.

    I wish you sleep :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ruch, not to rub it in or anything like that, but if anything I am almost the exact diametric opposite of you when it comes to sleeping. I can pretty much sleep anywhere and anytime irrespective of my surroundings. And trust me when I say this, I have always considered it a blessing, more so after reading posts like yours.

    In a country like India where privacy is hard to come by and almost even frowned upon I really cannot imagine waiting for the kind of 'peace and quiet' that light sleepers like you need to actually fall asleep and have a good deep sleep.

    Lovely narration though. I could easily visualize each and every one of those 'sleep disturbances' that you talk about in this post, and what's more it also helped me realize that I have pretty much slept through each and every one of those as well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Come to Brisbane. You'll fall in love with its deathly silence.

    Have your tried using silicone ear-plugs? They manage to block out all sounds, except of course the sound of your breathing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I must be amongst the lucky ones.
    I can just about sleep anywhere ,where there is a pillow.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Like Rachna, I am a light sleeper too, but nowhere as light as you. I am fast asleep as soon as my head touches a pillow.

    Seriously though Ruch, you must think of using something to block out the noise. Purba's suggestion is good. Ruchira Khanna's seems even better. You do seemed keyed up constantly. It must be so tiring!

    SUCH a pleasure reading you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hahaha! You made a hilarious post out of what must be a misery for you. Special place reserved in hell? Why, I think that Hell IS being a light sleeper :) Thank God I am a 'sound' sleeper - Did you perchance sit next to me as well on a flight, some time in the past? :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Poor u ! My mom also wakes up even if I drop a pin or switch on a light--- so on so forth. So usually I am very careful when she is around ! I am a light sleeper too but didn't get such horrible neighbors so far but there are ppl who move around furniture a lot and kids decide to play at that ghostly hour :"(

    ReplyDelete
  16. I sleep well but I am very sensitive to noise. Or any sound. The four year old above my apartment rides his bicycle after ten at night and bangs it against the wall. You can imagine my agony.
    I could almost imagine that Jap lady snoring. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I usually do not have issues to noises but when it is time for me to wake up ( aka mornings) I will be tuned in to bells and whistles and such. But, night time is deaf time!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I can sleep through anything, including my own snores, and that takes doing. My sons insist I snore heavily. I've heard of something called a sleep pillow, which emits a sound (white noise) that cancels all external noise. I guess it will help you

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a light-sleeper too and I know what you mean. About the alarm snoozers ,I suppose more than half of world's population will be there in hell.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You made me laugh early morning. But really, it is a curse. Try silicone plugs, they might help.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I used to be a very deep sleeper but with age, my sleep pattern has completely changed and I wake up very easily! So, totally sympathize with your situation! Your description made me giggle though! Poor you having to listen to Chopra uncle!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sigh. I'm a terrible sleeper too. I totally empathize. Earlier I couldn't fall asleep soon enough, and had a hard time waking up. Now I wake up way too early and can't get back to sleep. I'm so sick of it all .... ! Insomnia is a terrible, terrible thing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am lucky in this department .. put my head on pillow and zzzzzzzzzzzz doesnot matter where i am :) blisssssssssssssssssssssssss

    and chopra uncle needs to be told to keep it low, reminded me of a uncle while flying from uk to india , we reached india early morning and just before an uncle went to the loo and he made some lovely music in there .. it could be heard in all that noise ..


    Bikram

    ReplyDelete
  24. A is the one we talk about when we say 'sleep when head touches the pillow' - no matter that the metal forging factory across the road is on an over drive or that the pigeons on the vacant floor above having a jolly night. I became like him, and unlearnt the art soon as N came. I sleep as lightly as you do, but trying very hard to be able to go back to sleep in case N shifting in his cot wakes me up.
    I like how you wrote this post. The analogies are perfect for the post. You are funny all along even though you are stressing how serious the business of being a light sleeper is. And the grave tragedy of not having a sound-proof house. (PS - William Dalrymple has one in Nzm East.:D)
    Wishing you a good night. :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my goodness, this was the funniest thing ever, even if it was at your expense! I smiled right through it! How I wish you'd have taken a photo of that Mt Fuji lady!
    Absolutely adorable post.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't sleep as sound either now... however, I still manage 6-8 hours anyways... although I must say I sleep like a puppy in the noons for half an hour or an hour and so the light sleep at night is kinda okay...

    one thing I can't sleep in is snores... especially in Trains... sometimes it seems people are on a snore war! They are the most deadly of noises!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Omg, Ruchira, I got a nervous breakdown from just reading your post. I can imagine how sleep deprivation feels. I wake up when the L & M moves his hand. Sigh. On some days I want to sit up and cry because I can't get back to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Me too are getting the trouble in sleeping lately! How true?! My brother belongs to the crowd who will get a special place Ha ha ... he keeps alarms on snooze ... And yes, I have been beside Mt Fuji once during one of my camping trips. It was awful!

    ReplyDelete
  30. After reading this very interesting account of "sleep" and "snores", the only thing I wish for is a couch and a book. I am midway, neither do I sleep as I hit the cozy pillow, neither do I wake up from surrounding sounds/ bass/ woofer. a few pages of a book does the trick. I hope you get a sound proof room soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. So, here I get to finish it finally..after 2 good years..lol.I can completely empathize with you, Ruch..totally totally...only difference for you and me is, I can fall asleep in moving objects..lol...like buses, trains, flights (partly). I want to write a post too..with lots of hugs for you to catch a night's peaceful sleep.

    ReplyDelete

 

Nirjharini Copyright © 2011 - |- Template created by O Pregador - |- Powered by Blogger Templates