The old man predicts that we will be in separate rooms soon because of my snoring, but it’s far more likely to be due to our mismatched sleep patterns.
One of the major and most debilitating symptoms of Menopause is insomnia. I REALLY need my sleep – ideally a solid twelve hours to feel human – anything less than that and I’m walking on a tight rope between psychopath and White Walker.
Over the past few years as my sleep patterns have changed, I’ve done everything in my power to shake up my bedtime routine in an attempt to procure more sleep. I exercise during the day, avoid screen time before bedtime, have hot baths and milky drinks and have switched back to reading paper books. I’ve also dropped caffeine from my diet as well as any spicy food stuffs that might keep me awake.
And generally, within fifteen minutes of opening a book, my eyes begin to glaze over and I feel ready to turn off the light, spoon the Princess and roll onto my side to go to sleep, feeling ever hopeful.
Usually, my eyes are wide open again within minutes.
There are other reasons why I don’t sleep, of course: the first being the third person in our bed in the shape of the Princess; the second, the unfortunate decrease in bladder control that many of us stoic mothers succumb to in middle age, having sacrificed our pelvic floor muscles for the birth of our children. Fortunately, mine’s not as bad as the midwife predicted when I gave birth to my Buddha of a son but it’s enough to make me worry subconsciously about it through the night.
My final issue is directly related to sharing the bed with the old man and his enviable ability to fall asleep immediately, which has developed into a new level of marital torture.
He comes to bed, usually after me and following two hours of golf on television, rolls over onto his side and within seconds begins to fuck me off with the taunting sound of his regular, deep sleep breathing.
Like, doesn’t this man have any thoughts that he needs to compartmentalise in his brain at the end of the day? Why doesn’t HE lie awake, like I do, wondering if he remembered to turn the heater off, or why Kurt isn’t back yet, or whether NC made her flight connection from Doha to Heathrow.
How can anyone possibly switch off their brain that quickly?
Meanwhile, there I lie next to him, rolling around in a state of increasing anxiety, changing from this position to that at the same time as trying to control the perpetual shift in my body temperature from as cold as ice to a sauna, one leg in, one leg out; shirt on, shirt off.
Which is why old people have separate bedrooms.