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Good Night and Tough Luck
October 22, 2009 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Good Night and Tough Luck "Getting a good night’s sleep is actually a lot more complicated than one would think." An amusing look at the problems involved in getting a good night's sleep.
posted by nooneyouknow (62 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cute!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2009


Heh. I enjoyed that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:00 PM on October 22, 2009


He ignores the entire sleep-destroying world that is pet ownership. The dog gets up and moves around, making tons of noise. The dog cries at 5 AM to go out. So you wake up and try to figure out if she really has to go or is just bullshitting you. Probably bullshitting, but the effort of trying to figure it out just makes you more awake. Meanwhile the cat has been sleeping on various parts of you all night, either pinning you down or locking the covers or gassing you with assy cat-breath. And then when the dog gets going, the cat perceives that you're awake, and starts with the meowing and the face-clawing. And suppose you manage to ride this out or buy some peace by getting up and feeding/letting out the menagerie, and then somehow get back to sleep?
Well, then the cat wakes you up by barfing, and as you try to cling to sleep, you're horrified by the sound of the dog eating it.

Pets are not good for sleep.
posted by COBRA! at 2:02 PM on October 22, 2009 [41 favorites]


I like it.

He's probably not a second-floor apartment dweller, or he'd recognize my personal bane of sleep - those people who think it's OK to skateboard over uneven pavement in the middle of the night. The ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK wakes me up every time.
posted by muddgirl at 2:06 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


That was great. Sleep is a complicated, complicated thing, especially those who treat it like a war with time.
posted by spiderskull at 2:10 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


He ignores the entire sleep-destroying world that is pet ownership.

I don't think he owns pets, so I don't think he's quite ignoring it. Surely if he did own pets he would have included a graphic of a vomiting or drooling dog or a meowing or scratching cat.

However, the graphics of the child taking up most of the bed and stealing the covers is just as applicable to dogs as it is to kids.

In any event, I loved your comment, because it is so (painfully) true. Try dog x3 -- all on the bed at once -- and you have my house.
posted by blucevalo at 2:15 PM on October 22, 2009


Meanwhile the cat has been sleeping on various parts of you all night

or, if it's mine, insisting on sleeping next to you UNDER THE COVERS, so that not only do you have an incredibly hot little cat body wedged up against you, you also have to worry about carving out a little cave in the covers for the air to escape so you don't accidentally smother the little f****r in your sleep. Not that you actually sleep afterwards, mind you, because you're too busy trying to keep the cave open.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:15 PM on October 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


Mosquitoes are the key to time travel! Who knew?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:16 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile the cat has been sleeping on various parts of you all night

or, if it's mine, deciding that when you're trying to get to sleep is the perfect time for being lavished with attention, and that the best way to get attention is to lick my face. That's a great way to be woken up.
posted by Caduceus at 2:19 PM on October 22, 2009


I liked this! It inspired me to prepare a diagram of our own nightly woe.
posted by everichon at 2:21 PM on October 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Aw, Christoph Niemann always makes me smile.

Previously on mefi.

He should thank his lucky stars he doesn't have clumpety upstairs neighbors. Or a comedy club on the block attended by loud patrons who congregate outside at 1 a.m.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:22 PM on October 22, 2009


Its a good thing only one of my cats sleeps with me through the night. Of course, when he decides its wake up time, that's when he lands on my bladder, and then crawls up my body to drape himself on my neck. Because I always wake up when I can't breathe and suddenly have to pee!
posted by sandraregina at 2:27 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


people who complain about their pets interrupting their sleep have never had fussy babies.
posted by Fraxas at 2:29 PM on October 22, 2009


Most excellent, thank you.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:29 PM on October 22, 2009


people who complain about their pets interrupting their sleep have never had fussy babies.

Childfree FTW.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:29 PM on October 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


The other morning, I dreamed that Sigourney Weaver was crying about something and I thought to comfort her with a kiss. I felt what I thought was her hand on my face... but the dream dissolved to reveal that it was just my cat walking on my neck.

Ironically, we had named the cat Jones - after the one in Alien.

True story.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:33 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, then the cat wakes you up by barfing, and as you try to cling to sleep, you're horrified by the sound of the dog eating it.

You've been to my house, then?

Absolutely agree that pets are the masters of destroying sleep. In addition to the barfing/eating cycle, we have what must surely be the ne-plus-ultra of sleep-annihilating pets...a 14-year-old beagle with anal gland "issues". There is nothing like the 3am sound of puppy working diligently on those glands to utterly kill any hope you might have had of getting a good bit of shuteye.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:36 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Joe Beese, that is not irony. You owe me a Coke. A cane sugar Coke, not a HFCS Coke.
posted by mkb at 2:38 PM on October 22, 2009


Our cats used to keep us up crying to get into the bedroom at night, until we tried the vacuum trick, learned right here on mefi!
posted by odayoday at 2:44 PM on October 22, 2009


Xckd covered the spooning arm problem. Cmon people, there are millions of dollars to be made.
posted by tybstar at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Our cats used to keep us up crying to get into the bedroom at night, until we tried the vacuum trick, learned right here on mefi!

So ... are you just going to leave us hanging? What is the vacuum trick?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2009


I savor those days when the GF has to get out of bed before me and I have the whole thing to myself for one precious hour.

Also: fussy babies get older and start sleeping through the night, but pets will keep you awake for a good 10 to 15 years.
posted by keep_evolving at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cat owners: Keep your bedroom door closed. Reward mewling and thumping at the door with a squirt from a spray bottle.

Problem = solved.

Dog owners?
posted by clarknova at 3:09 PM on October 22, 2009


Set up a vacuum outside the bedroom door, and have it turned on but not plugged in. Run the cord under the closed door, and when the kitties start crying to get in, plug in the vacuum. It will scare the cats, but because they don't see you doing it, they don't associate it with you. They just know that if they cry at the door they hear a horrible noise, so very, very quickly they stop doing it. The only problem is that now we still have to keep the vacuum set up outside the door, even if we never plug it in anymore. I still haven't figured out how to keep them from crying if it's not there.
posted by odayoday at 3:09 PM on October 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


We tried the squirt bottle, but it didn't really bother the cats AND required us to get out of bed. The nice thing about the vacuum is you don't even have to get up if you have a powerbar next to the bed.
posted by odayoday at 3:10 PM on October 22, 2009


That's really strange. I've never encountered a cat that didn't have a loathing of being squirted encoded in their DNA. Must be mutants. Maybe you have chupacabras?

That vacuum tricks sounds groovy too. I'd try that next, then a Super Soaker.
posted by clarknova at 3:13 PM on October 22, 2009



Cat owners: Keep your bedroom door closed. Reward mewling and thumping at the door with a squirt from a spray bottle


Unless you have a Siamese/Tabby mixed cat that howls and loudly drags her toys around at intervals just long enough to basically keep you near the edge of sleep all night long. Nothing works, I have tried everything. We have a hate/love relationship.
posted by weezy at 3:21 PM on October 22, 2009


One of my few innate abilities is that I can sleep through absolutely anything. Our bedroom is in the front room of a townhouse with no front yard so we're practically sleeping over the sidewalk; in the center of a city; near a firehouse; near a police station; near a hospital with constant helicopter traffic. We have two cats who are either sleeping on us or having late night high-speed races across the pine floors. My wife often snores like a mountain lion. I don't hear any of it. I close my eyes at 11:30 and the next thing I know, the alarm clock is ringing at 6:30.
posted by octothorpe at 3:25 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, our cats are definitely special. They have an extremely thick fur, and an extremely high tolerance for "correction" which is I think why the water doesn't doesn't bother them.
posted by odayoday at 3:32 PM on October 22, 2009


Sleep can be a titanic struggle; just ask someone with insomnia or apnea. Funny how something that takes so little energy and rejuvenates us requires so much effort in the way of good sleep hygiene.

Love that last cartoon, "keyboard face." Reminds me of that old Bloom County strip with Binkley and his dad.

Binkley: "Dad? Dad!"

Dad: "...'s three-o-clock in the morning..."

Binkley: "Have you heard about the corduroy pillows, Dad?"

Dad: "...huh?"

Binkley: "They're making headlines!"

Binkley and Opus: "HAhahahaha!"

Opus: "I don't get it."
posted by Hardcore Poser at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not nearly as funny as the author thinks (this is true regardless of how little or how much humor the author finds in the piece).
posted by oddman at 4:03 PM on October 22, 2009


I strongly suspect the reason I still have a girlfriend is my willingness to warm up her side of the bed as illustrated here.
posted by Eideteker at 4:57 PM on October 22, 2009


spooning is super. The one thing I haven’t really figured out is where the person in the back is supposed to put that bottom arm.

Under your partner's pillow. The weight of their head is distributed (if the pillow is at all firm), so blood circulation to the arm is maintained.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:01 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


My cats don't bother us when we sleep, except for when my alarm clock goes off, at which point one of them decides it's time to cuddle. Which is fortunate, I suppose.

Now my crippling anxiety? That does ruin my sleep. Too bad.
posted by elder18 at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The opposite of a mosquito is spooning: mosquitoes are awful, whereas spooning is super. The one thing I haven’t really figured out is where the person in the back is supposed to put that bottom arm.

Assuming that I am sleeping on your left side as the outside spoon, my preferred technique is such: I gently drape my right arm over the upper body of my partner, and lay my left arm straight forward along the bed, underneath my partner's neck. This allows me to bring my left hand back and use it to hold onto my right forearm, near the right elbow. At this point, I have a very good amount of control over the upper body of my partner, and only the slightest flexing is required to put significant pressure on their windpipe. In addition, if a pen or other narrow rigid object has been concealed in the right hand, damage to my partner's eye is more easily achieved than with a standard raking procedure.

I was trained to spoon in the Spetsnaz.
posted by FatherDagon at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


What no one seems to take seriously is the alarming rate at which a ten-pound Italian Greyhound expands to take up an entire queen-size bed. This is a serious problem, people.
posted by Neofelis at 6:00 PM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cat owners: Keep your bedroom door closed. Reward mewling and thumping at the door with a squirt from a spray bottle.

Problem = solved.


Um...no. Kitty thinks it's playtime.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:21 PM on October 22, 2009


you also have to worry about carving out a little cave in the covers for the air to escape so you don't accidentally smother the little f****r in your sleep.

I've lost count of the number of times I've woken up sleeping directly on the cat. They really don't smother that easily. But then mine also bask in the water squirt and like the vacuum cleaner (and lawn mower actually) so maybe they're weird?

They're also trained to go wake up my boyfriend in the room next door at breakfast time and leave me alone. Even if we swap bedrooms and/or I get up first, they run straight to him and start meiowing. Genius.

I really like the style of this guy's pictures, with the thick paint and clean lines.
posted by shelleycat at 7:27 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What no one seems to take seriously is the alarming rate at which a ten-pound Italian Greyhound expands to take up an entire queen-size bed. This is a serious problem, people.

I thought the best part was the running dreams greyhounds have?

A buddy of mine used to be a drummer. His girlfriend(s?) did not appreciate this.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:41 PM on October 22, 2009


Whacked out on cold medication last night, I dreamed I had invented a perfect 3D Hologram device. I used it to create a chipper 1950s-era calisthenics instructor who sounded like Mr. B. Natural with a pixie haircut and bright blue jumper. I took my device to the park and began to perform old-fashioned exercise moves (up and down! up and down! you can do it! and twist!). When I came back the next day, i found that a sizable cult had grown up around the woman, particularly among older Asian men who where demanding that I release her so she should spread her upbeat message about physical fitness.

Then I woke up.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, as a lifelong insomniac, I am deeply disturbed by how quickly the quality of my sleep improves if I'm given a stuffed animal in the middle of the night. Burly 6 feet tall men with viking hair should not be so easily subdued by a small donkey.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 PM on October 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Strangely enough, last night I dreamed I was sleeping with a stuffed toy. That toy went with me everywhere and was well squashed from being slept with.

(there is no room in my bed for stuffed toys because I have too many cats)
posted by shelleycat at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


podcasts and audio books put me out cold. i need something that engages my brain without being TOO engaging, then i'm out like a light.
posted by empath at 9:10 PM on October 22, 2009


Rather than join in on the matter of cats, I'll say this: I completely agree with respect to spooning and the lower arm. Well, actually, I have two spooning problems: what the heck do I do with the bottom arm so it doesn't get trapped under my partner and fall asleep (heh), and how do I keep from itching because I have a face full of her hair? If I can't figure this out soon I'm going to have to blow a week's question on it the next time I find myself with a girlfriend.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:21 PM on October 22, 2009


Well it is a bit late but heck, anyone up for going over to octothorpe's and seeing if a bit of c4 just outside his window might fix that smug 'sleep through anything' thing?
posted by sammyo at 10:38 PM on October 22, 2009


Well it is a bit late but heck, anyone up for going over to octothorpe's and seeing if a bit of c4 just outside his window might fix that smug 'sleep through anything' thing?
posted by sammyo at 1:38 AM on October 23 [+] [!]


Oh, if I was just a bit closer to him...

People who can sleep make me want to cry. I have the worst sleep patterns and have for years. Hell, I'm sitting, in the hospital it is 2.40 in the morning and I'm pretty much wide awake.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:39 PM on October 22, 2009


People who can't sleep make me cry. I used to be an insomniac, and I now long for those days. No, seriously, I do. I now have exactly the opposite problem: unless forcefully roused, my body thinks the ultimate awesome amount of sleep is 14-16 hours a day. EVERY DAY. So I go to bed at midnight, and I don't wake up until 2 or 3 p.m. the next day . . . which gives me 9 or 10 hours per day of wakefulness. Seriously, you insomniacs don't know how good you've got it. All that lovely, wonderful, -conscious- time!

This was adorable, though, and it made me smile to see/read. I don't have kids of my own, but do have siblings, one of whom is a lot younger than I am. I remember being absolutely boggled upon going into my parents' bedroom one morning to see my mom and dad almost literally falling off the bed, and my 18-month-old sister taking up ALL of a California king sized bed.

Are small children, like, the opposite of the TARDIS, or what?
posted by po at 2:36 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I loved this. We've got the cats pretty much under control after appeasing the snuggle-meister with her own pillow and "teaching" the midnight screamer that screaming will be met with one quick tap between the ears (man does she hate that). Now, if I could only perform some hocus-pocus with my bladder. I hate that. Wake up. "I have to pee. I don't want to get out of bed. I can't fall asleep again. I have to pee. It's cold and dark out there." It seriously takes more time thinking about it than it does to actually get up and pee.

See also: "I'm hungry. Don't want to get up. Tummy is rumbling. Cold and dark out there. Can't sleep. I'm hungry."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:11 AM on October 23, 2009


Also, my partner hates that he can't snuggle me in my sleep. I hate, HATE having extra weight on me and any attempts to get all snuggly wuggly get met with a sleepy arm to the face. Sorry, spooners. At least he doesn't have to worry about that pesky bottom arm. (An ex of mine and I came up with a term for this arm: "The velcro arm" as in, you wish it was affixed with velcro so you could take it off when it became inconvenient.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:13 AM on October 23, 2009


Well, then the cat wakes you up by barfing, and as you try to cling to sleep, you're horrified by the sound of the dog eating it.

No, no, no. You're relieved by the sound of the dog eating it, because then you don't have to worry about accidentally stepping in the puke the next time you get up to go to the bathroom in the dark.
posted by belladonna at 6:11 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


sammyo: "Well it is a bit late but heck, anyone up for going over to octothorpe's and seeing if a bit of c4 just outside his window might fix that smug 'sleep through anything' thing?"

If it makes you feel better, I can't stay up even if I want to. I did grad school for three years while working full time and couldn't manage a single all-nighter. I get to midnight and my brain starts sending me messages like a dying laptop, "Warning, I'll be shutting down in five minutes, find something soft to fall on or you'll get hurt". There's no amount of caffeine that can change that, no matter how important the test is the next day.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 AM on October 23, 2009


My husband suffers from chronic insomnia. He's on Cymbalta now to try to help. It's not. So now he's mixing it with 2 Sleepinols. Sometimes I have to check on him to make sure he's not dead. Cymbalta and Sleepinols can't be a good cocktail.

Insomniac husband says the only way he can fall asleep is with the tv on. So if I go to bed early with tv off and say it's midnight, he comes in and TURNS ON THE @#$# TV until 2am. I fall asleep at 2am.

Now it's about 4 am and I sneeze so that starts this process:

2 cats. The Siamese who fights with the other cat so we hear the other cat hiss, then he runs through the house and climbs up the door frames and then talks throughout the house. Since hey, it's a party in our house, the other cat has to let us know that "hey it's time to eat, assholes" and then scratches at the mattress. The Siamese comes back to hit her or bite her and hissing cycle continues.

Then a 4 year old border collie jumps up and down on the bed chasing the cats around then up on the bed, stepping on us and standing over me with puppy eyes until I move. If I move, she knows I'm up so then it's a lick or a "mmpff mmpff mpff." The other dog has gagging/phlegm issues so she's gagging, hocking up a loogie in the middle of the night OR dreaming and barking in her sleep.

4:30 the 10 month old hears me and cries. I do the Weissbluth and let him cry it out. But too late, animals are up so I better feed them before they shiv me. Oh the baby hears me up well now it's time to feed him. Go down heat up his bottle, 15 min to feed. Oh lookie 5am. Get ready to go to work. My clothes are in our bedroom--great. Grab flashlight and try to find clothes to get dressed.

Get home by 6:30, feed/play with baby, eat dinner (maybe) at 8, soothe baby and put him down by 8-8:30. Fall asleep by 9--husband turns on tv at midnight...hello world, time to start this all over again.

And I'm *this* close to booking a flight to Florida--warm weather, palm trees, pool, some wine, and SLEEP, OH MY GOD GLORIOUS SLEEP WITH NO ANIMALS, HUSBAND, OR BABY TO BOTHER ME.
posted by stormpooper at 7:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The velcro arm" as in, you wish it was affixed with velcro so you could take it off when it became inconvenient.)

Ah yes, the Superfluous Arm. I got as far as coming up with a hook affixed to the headboard where you could hang it once you remove it, but I haven't been able to come up with a way to get the thing off.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:28 AM on October 23, 2009


Well, then the cat wakes you up by barfing, and as you try to cling to sleep, you're horrified by the sound of the dog eating it.

No, no, no. You're relieved by the sound of the dog eating it, because then you don't have to worry about accidentally stepping in the puke the next time you get up to go to the bathroom in the dark.

No, no, no, no, no! The antecedent of "it" is quite clearly "the cat"!
posted by strangeguitars at 8:36 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suffer from terrible insomnia and have gone through every pet related anti-sleeping situation imaginable, from cats fighting on my legs, to dogs suddenly and inexplicably deciding that they are under-the-blanket animals (with ice cold noses to stick on a bare calf, just in case you had managed to doze off), to birds who decide that they can see ghosts or pixies or something and begin shrieking just as the sun is paling the sky.

My real problem has been just the opposite though; my cats have developed this ability to make me fall asleep, just when I need to be getting up. I can spend the whole night tossing and turning, and about a half hour before it's time to start the day, the cat will fall asleep on my feet in just such a way as to suck the very life from by body.

If only I could figure out a way to get the little fuckers to do this when I went to bed, I could almost lead a normal life.

*sigh*
posted by quin at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The whole animal (and infant, apparently) chain-reaction thing is just Kafka-esque hell, and so very real. I have lain awake thinking, I will not pee, for if I pee, that will wake the dog, who will then do his FLAPPITA FLAPPITA FLAPPITA ear thing, which will wake Spouse. Then the cat will begin the Yodeling Cycle. This will cause Spouse to vainly yell "CAT!", causing Dog to whine. This is usually when I start to ransack bathrooms for forgotten diazepam.
posted by everichon at 9:01 AM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


I am deeply disturbed by how quickly the quality of my sleep improves if I'm given a stuffed animal in the middle of the night

To soothe you in your Viking-ness, do you think it might be something about the positioning of your body rather than the psychological comfort? I've noticed of late that I sleep MUCH better if I'm holding something inanimate--whether it be a pillow or a cute stuffed pig seems immaterial. I seriously think it shifts my shoulder and arm positioning such that it removes physical stress and lets me settle in more comfortably without as much tossing and turning.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:01 AM on October 23, 2009


Whelk, have you tried burning a coastal village to the ground before you hit the hay?
posted by everichon at 9:06 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is a distinct lack of unguarded villages in this wintry economic climate
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am deeply disturbed by how quickly the quality of my sleep improves if I'm given a stuffed animal in the middle of the night

Oh geez. I can't sleep WITHOUT a stuffed animal (or pillow that's relatively the same size/squishyness). Never have. Though thankfully, unlike a real animal, it isn't terribly likely to wander off or meow in my ear in the middle of the night.

Yes. I am 28 years old. Yes, I pack my stuffed animal when I travel. Yes, when I got married, my bear was in the bed when I went to sleep on my wedding night.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:24 AM on October 23, 2009


I'm off work today, so I got to "sleep in." Usually, I'm up at 5:30. The cats know this. So this morning, there I was, still asleep at 5:30, and at 6:00, and...what's that? That's a cat foot. On my head. Oh, now there's one on my bladder. And there's some sort of kitty disco on my feet and legs. Cat foot on my head again.

It was barely 7 am. I gave up and got out of bed.
posted by rtha at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2009


I don't hear any of it. I close my eyes at 11:30 and the next thing I know, the alarm clock is ringing at 6:30.

I'm sure you're a nice person and everything, but I secretly hate you, but only because I am so, so jealous.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:32 PM on October 25, 2009


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