Up All Night
March 11, 2013 11:41 PM   Subscribe

The science of sleeplessness. "Wolf-Meyer refers to the practice of going to bed at around eleven o’clock at night and staying there until about seven in the morning as sleeping 'in a consolidated fashion.' Nowadays, adults are expected to sleep in this manner; anything else—sleeping during the day, sleeping in bursts, waking up in the middle of the night—is taken to be unsound, even deviant. This didn’t use to be the case."

Here is another interesting bit: "Perhaps the most provocative claim that Randall has to make about sleep is that we’d all be better off doing it alone. Research studies consistently find, he writes, that adults 'sleep better when given their own bed.' One such study monitored couples over a span of several nights. Half of these nights they spent in one bed and the other half in separate rooms. When the subjects woke, they tended to say that they’d slept better when they’d been together. In fact, on average they’d spent thirty minutes more a night in the deeper stages of sleep when they were apart."
posted by epimorph (82 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
But I feel safer with Mr. Roquette at least present. If I leave him, he wakes right up!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:44 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


My fiancée and I are both huge cuddlers; as a rule we sleep in a compact two-person pile. I will gladly trade 30 minutes of deep sleep for more touch, thank you very much. Deep sleep is good, but touch is incredible.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:54 PM on March 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


In fact, on average they’d spent thirty minutes more a night in the deeper stages of sleep when they were apart.

I happily trade the deeper stages of sleep for more cuddle time with the Mrs. and I think I would be far worse off - albeit a bit more bright-eyed - having it the other way around.
posted by three blind mice at 11:54 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perfect time of the day (from an east coast perspective) for this post.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:54 PM on March 11, 2013


tbm: Jinx!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:55 PM on March 11, 2013


Finally, a post for us insomniacs! I‘ve had maybe four hours‘ total in the past week... It‘s making me kinda loopy, to be honest.
posted by Jughead at 12:02 AM on March 12, 2013


I'm working overnights now. I sleep when I get home for a couple of hours, wake up, eat lunch, watch some tv, then fall asleep again. On my days off, I sleep at random times throughout the day and night while doing stuff that I need to do in the middle of it. Other than monday nights, I'm rarely tired.
posted by empath at 12:07 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In college I drifted toward keeping to what I called a "four and four" schedule -- sleep from 3 until 7 in the afternoon, and then from 3 to 7 again in the morning. It worked fine for a little while, but after a few months I felt like a disassociated zombie and had to force myself to sleep for multiple uninterrupted cycles.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:22 AM on March 12, 2013


Research studies consistently find, he writes, that adults 'sleep better when given their own bed.'

I'm reassured to see this at last acknowledged. I have truly never found having another human being sleeping in my bed, no matter how wonderfully attractive they might be, to be anything other than sheer, spirit-crushing torture. They're fully encouraged to be in it before I sleep, and after, but there'd better be at least an 8-hour window during which nothing living comes within arm's reach me. Or pulls on the blankets. Or makes any audible sound. If not, sorry, I'm spiraling down into quiet, zombified despair.

My ideal relationship might look like the marriage of a 1950's Calvinist preacher, but we won't exist in constant sleep debt for the belief that sex mustn't ever be more than two inches away. We'll schedule it in at appropriate intervals, and get some proper fucking sleep between times.

Cold, pinch-faced shrews, PM me.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 12:23 AM on March 12, 2013 [81 favorites]


Hey empath, just out of curiousity, how often does your shift schedule change? Like do you do overnights for a week, then switch, or are you on overnights permanently?

Many, many moons ago, I worked at a gas station on the graveyard shift, from eleven at night until seven in the morning. I worked five days a week, for five months straight. You‘d think that one would eventually get used to that sleeping schedule, that you‘d become accustomed to waking at nine at night, then getting home after work, do whatever until about noon, then to bed in a nice, dark room until it was time to get up and return to work.

Well, maybe someone could, but I never managed it. Somehow, it always felt wrong to be asleep in the afternoons, so I never did get a good, restful sleep that entire time. And I‘m one of those “owls“ referred to in this post; I‘ve always been a late-night kinda guy. That was one of my reasons for taking the job in the first place; I was usually up late anyways, what‘s staying up a few extra hours, especially if you‘re getting paid?

My days off sucked, since I was usually too tired to do anything fun: My friends still remind me about the time I fell asleep at a Radiohead show (I slept on a bench in the lobby at the congress centre during Teenage Fanclub‘s set, waking up just in time to catch the last 2/3rds of Radiohead‘s).

So my experience is, it doesn‘t matter how dark your room is, if the sun is still up, it‘s damn near impossible to get the deep, restful sleep of a normal schedule.
posted by Jughead at 12:33 AM on March 12, 2013


Kandarp, I wouldn't always agree with you, but it's
730 here and I've had maybe one hour of sleep and I have to go to work now. This is not the case for everyone in this bed.
So right now... Well I couldn't agree with you more.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:37 AM on March 12, 2013


Hey empath, just out of curiousity, how often does your shift schedule change? Like do you do overnights for a week, then switch, or are you on overnights permanently?

Permanently. It was rough for the first month, but I'm used to it now. The key to falling asleep for me is audiobooks, podcasts or itunesU lectures. I never last more than 30-40 minutes with one on. I wake up after 3-4 hours about half the time, eat lunch, feed the cat, watch a little tv, maybe run to the store, then come back and go back to sleep. The only time it's hard for me is if my GF comes home on the days when I get back to sleep late and wakes me up early.
posted by empath at 12:41 AM on March 12, 2013


As a counterpoint to some of the initial comments - I am very touch and cuddle oriented and I universally sleep worse when there is someone in the bed with me.
posted by MillMan at 12:47 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


The reason I generally sleep better with Mr. Roquette around is I feel safer. He is very big and an intruder would have a hard time with him. I don't even mind him snoring. He minds that I snore.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:57 AM on March 12, 2013


I almost always wake up for about an hour in the middle of the night. It's actually sort of nice. I read some MeFi, check email and then head back to sleep.

As for sleeping alone - yes please! My ideal relationship involves not just separate beds, but separate bedrooms.

Odds of finding someone who doesn't find that weird are low, mind you, but I'm ok with that.
posted by dotgirl at 1:02 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was up till 6am my time zone today and found myself back awake before noon. What's that you say, unsound and deviant?

The Downton Abbey types always had formal separate bedrooms...
posted by infini at 1:09 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "My fiancée and I are both huge cuddlers; as a rule we sleep in a compact two-person pile. I will gladly trade 30 minutes of deep sleep for more touch, thank you very much. Deep sleep is good, but touch is incredible."

Thanks for reminding me I am single again.

Jerk.

meant with all due love and respect
posted by Samizdata at 1:10 AM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


The key to falling asleep for me is audiobooks, podcasts or itunesU lectures.

I never tried falling asleep to audio-anything: usually, especially after the first month, I‘d fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV, then wake up after an hour and go, “well, I should go to bed!“ then toss and turn for an hour before dozing for another hour or two, then waking, then dozing, then waking... well, you get the idea.

How long have you been working overnights now?

Oh yeah, and I have to say, I prefer sleep to cuddles. Although, at this point, I‘ll gladly take either...
posted by Jughead at 1:10 AM on March 12, 2013


I don't nap well. Generally, I prefer to just power through until it's bed time and then go and pass out properly. For a nap to be any good, I need to be basically really exhausted on the couch or something, and even then, it can throw me to start dreaming out there, which is the only sleep that does me any good, I feel.

As for cuddling, I also don't do that well. While falling asleep, I rotate through all four sides until I pass out in whichever one is most comfortable, and having the wife on me makes me try not to move so as not to disturb her. Ends up making it very difficult for me to get comfortable and fall asleep.
posted by disillusioned at 1:10 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear god, don't fucking touch me while I sleep.
posted by ZaneJ. at 1:14 AM on March 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


It feels like every 6 months there's another article like this - a bit of history on sleep research, the reminder that our current sleep schedule is unnatural, a joke/semi-serious sugestion about changing the time school starts, the saucy factoid about Ben Franklin and early Americans waking up to have sex and then the climax, where the author is analyzed.

Between the anxiety and the possible sleep apnea and the fact that I'm a typical owl stuck in an office job none of them really help. Sleeping with another person is fun because I assume they'll prevent me from dying in my sleep its easier to convince yourself you'll still exist in the morning when there's another person there.

On the bright side, sleeplessness is a fun substitute for drugs.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:22 AM on March 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


I once hooked up a computer cam to my bedroom so I could take images
every 10 seconds and create a clip of my sleep. Damn I was all over the place!
flopping and rolling like some sort of walrus, twisting and turning my head in
contorted ways. Had I been sleeping with someone they would been pummeled
something horrible. But no sleeping partners have ever complained.
posted by quazichimp at 1:23 AM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


It feels like every 6 months there's another article...

Articles like this usually come out the first week after the clocks change.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:34 AM on March 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


I do like the term they are using - chronotype. As an extreme owl, it can be pretty frustrating dealing with people who think that the way that I stay up late and sleep in is some sort of moral failing, like laziness, and that if I just tried I could get up early and get! things! done! Of course, they don't take into account that I am up getting things done way after they have gone to bed. If it's not in the morning, apparently it doesn't count. I was a terrible insomniac for decades, until I was able to arrange my life to be able to go to bed t 6am, and sleep until 2pm. The sweet sleep I get now is heavenly. Even so, I still use audiobooks to relax enough to drop off - those things are like valium for the busy mind.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:35 AM on March 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


It may or may not not be strictly cave-people natural, but it works out for us building-people. One bed in one bedroom is cheaper. Sharing that bed makes sure that mates are at least spending their nights together and vulnerable even if they're running around apart and bristly all day.

And sleeping all in one burst around 11PM to 7AM give or take an hour or two lets us maximize socializing with the rest of the majority one-burst crowd until we're all exhausted together, then sleep at the same time (perhaps together), and then jump back up for work at the same time (perhaps together). Unless we can all agree to a sort of inverse siesta -- a time in the middle of the night when we all get up for an hour or two, followed by a proportionally later start for work -- we will always be pressured into at least trying for just one burst of sleep in the middle of the local night.
posted by pracowity at 1:36 AM on March 12, 2013


The goggles! They do nothing! would probably be useful if I didn't have a freakishly large head.

I think I'll toss these and get comfortable prescription sunglasses. With orange tint.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:39 AM on March 12, 2013


There is an enormous cultural weight that bears down on us owls. Mornings are VIRTUOUS. Late nights are SUSPECT. And if you're an owl with a two-track sleep cycle, well, you're obviously a lazy and undisciplined sluggard. Left to my own devices, I will fall into a natural rhythm of sleeping from 6 AM to 10 AM and then again from 5 PM to 8 PM. My most productive hours are from midnight to 4 AM. This worked great when I was tending bar. As others waned, I waxed. Three in the morning? Hell yeah, let's clean the coolers. I'm ready to go! But ask me to work 9 to 5 and I'm a hollow-eyed, shuffling zombie.

But it's really hard to Get Stuff Done when everything is closed, everyone is asleep, and I have to tiptoe around the house with headphones on.

I tried for years to reset my clock with only intermittent success. It's nice to know I'm not a mutant freak.

And now it's 4 AM, and I'm bursting with energy.

Sigh.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:01 AM on March 12, 2013 [27 favorites]


So I usually sleep with my two cats on the bed, with one sitting as Guard Cat at the foot of the bed and the other curled in the crook of my elbow, repeatedly kneading. It's incredibly sweet but it does mean I have to sleep nearly paralysed unless I roll over and squash a kitten.

So yeah, I can well understand sleeping alone is more restfull, but locking them out just results in scratching at and meowing in front of the bedroom door.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:02 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know about society being 'down' on owls these days - the only people I know of who talk about their sleep (or lack thereof) are people who openly boast about how late they stay up or how little they sleep. With an implication that anyone who is different is frankly a bit weak.
posted by Megami at 2:12 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a weird sleep issue. I get that hypnogogic jerk as I fall asleep, often, and the damn thing wakes me up! If we're still in cuddle position, it wakes my partner up, too. Sometimes it's fairly violent. Occasionally, it even hurts. Other times, I delightfully skim the surface of sleep, semi-dreaming, semi-lucid.

But way back in my 20s, for awhile, I was addicted to missing sleep. I loved to work 32 hours (less breaks, of course) before going home and sleeping. I never realized it was a bad addiction until I got a job where there was no call for that, and got over it.
posted by Goofyy at 2:27 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"didn't use to be the case" ?

"was not always the case."

Captain Pedantic signing off!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:01 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm with dotgirl--separate bedrooms. A place to call your own, decorate any way you want, a place to read, contemplate, do stupid things all on your lonesome. And (!), a place to invite your sweetie from down the hall for whatever kind of fun that seems to be in the air. Like dogs, we all need our own crates.
posted by kidkilowatt at 3:02 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


A place to call your own, decorate any way you want, a place to read, contemplate, do stupid things all on your lonesome. And (!), a place to invite your sweetie from down the hall for whatever kind of fun that seems to be in the air

Boyfriend and I share a house with 2 apartments, and yes it really is great
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:29 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know about society being 'down' on owls these days

Then you must not be one. There might be something that sounds like boasting, but there is a dark side. I work a full time job that mostly happens when everyone else is asleep, I end up not getting much sleep because either I feel shamed into waking up, or someone is going at it outside with lawnmowers or leafblowers or jackhammers or woodchippers or just a straight up hammer and Manly Project Voices right outside the house and, unlike someone who sleeps normal hours, I can't stomp outside all indignant and ask them to FUCKING STOP because DON'T YOU REALIZE IT'S 11:30 IN THE FUCKING MORNING just doesn't make any sense to... anybody. Don't get me started on the compulsory meetings and events that daywalkers schedule for me, bemused at my glassy red eyes and my unending desire to retreat into the depths of my hoodie like a shy and vulnerable sea creature (except with lots of hoarse muttered swearing.)

Yet when I am awake, everything must be absolutely perfectly dark and perfectly silent or else I catch holy hell. If I so much as drop a spoon it seems like the whole block can hear it. Forget about working on projects, doing laundry, anything.


I am not boasting about anything. I am, however, often entertaining elaborate revenge fantasies that involve power tools and 3 AM.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:51 AM on March 12, 2013 [25 favorites]


Louche mustachio, I AM THAT SEA CREATURE.

I am currently sleeping 6am to about 4pm. I live next door to a hotel. They have a groundskeeper. Every day, at 11am, without fail, that bastard uses a leafblower to clear the path running between the hotel and my house. Under my window. Rain or shine. And he doesn't actually sweep them up, so they just blow back over the course of the day, and lo! come 11am the next day, there are lots of leaves for him to blow.

I hate that guy. I hate him so much.
posted by Jilder at 4:03 AM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Leafblowers were invented specifically to torture us, because damned if they are good for anything else.

Make them all into hovercraft, I say.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:06 AM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


whoo-hoo! this thread had turned into the late-night-owl party!
but all those stinkin' larks are going to get up soon and bust it up with lawnmowers and shit.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:14 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I worked night shift for a few months - 10 PM to 6:30 AM. I had always been curious about it. It was great for a while, but I could not get solid sleep in the day. I'd wake up hungry around noon, and then not really be able to go back to leep until 3 or 4 PM. So a couple of months of this eroded my well-being pretty effectively.
posted by thelonius at 4:15 AM on March 12, 2013


I'm always more in awe of you owl types than down on you. I can't stay up past midnight to save my life. I had to get through grad school while working full time without ever being able to do a single all-nighter. My brain starts sending out warnings around 11 telling me that it's shutting down soon and I'd better get my teeth brushed and get to bed soon or I'll just pass out where I'm standing.
posted by octothorpe at 4:35 AM on March 12, 2013


Sigh. I am up too late. As usual. 4:42 here and today I have to be up by 11. I like the solitude of being awake and working late at night, but some days...
posted by litlnemo at 4:43 AM on March 12, 2013


I hate that guy. I hate him so much.

Pooh! The subway station being built 500m outside the apartment complex starts driving piles into the ground at 7am... I"m just going to bed people!!!
posted by infini at 4:44 AM on March 12, 2013


Oh, louche mustachio, testify.

The thing I will never understand is that almost everybody hates getting up before 10 AM or so, but for some reason we're all just expected to do it. It's just taken for granted that we're supposed to be at work or school every day well before we'd even want to be awake... And there's no good reason for it to be set up that way! Somebody somewhere decided 8-9 AM was when work started, and everybody has been miserable about it, ever since.

Having been forced to work both days and nights, I have noted a strange phenomenon: nights almost always seem much shorter than days, or at least they do from about midnight onwards. I've talked this over with other people who work overnight shifts, and they've all experienced the same thing. You work from, say, 7 AM to 7 PM, and the hours can just drag by. You work from 7 PM to 7 AM, and once you get going the hours seem to pass in about half the time the day shift takes. I think it was Jay McInerney who had a line about an evening reaching that imperceptible pivot point, where 2 AM suddenly becomes 6 AM. A lot of his writing hasn't dated well, but I find myself thinking about the line pretty often on the overnight shift.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:06 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Let me tell you about the time some dudes from The City were feeding whole entire trees into giant woodchipper right outside my front door after I had just gotten done working a midnight to 8.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:07 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sup, it's 5 AM and I just got home from work, night-owl party yeaaahhhh!

I need to stay tremendously focused while working on music, and even the slightest interruption can ruin it and really piss me off. So I work overnight in blissful silence and solitude. After over a decade of this, I'm more or less permanently nocturnal, any attempt to flip back will fail within a few days.

Although my day job has core working hours for everyone else, they fully support my schedule (including afternoon meetings only) since my workload is staggering and I need to hit impossible deadlines year-round. As for spousal considerations... we uh.. have opposite terms for breakfast and dinner, but we still have them together, and otherwise hang out plenty.

Our bastard dog, however, has it best; he gets a double dose of under-blanket snuggling/spooning every day. Barely has to leave the bed, but for food and walks.

Life is good, friends. Good morning!
posted by jake at 5:14 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I work with truckers. They all work some kind of night shift, except for the ones who have to rise to work at five. Their ability to sleep during the day amazes me even after a year and a half at the depot.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:14 AM on March 12, 2013


I think the article may conflate two different things. There's sleeping in two bursts, first and second sleep, with a period of relative wakefulness in between. Roger Ekirch provided historical evidence that this pattern of sleeping was taken as more or less the norm in the past, and there's some anthropological evidence of it in other cultures. It might therefore be that this is a more natural pattern of sleep than going straight through the night, at least for the majority of people.

Then there's sleeping during some period of the day and working or being active for some period of the night. This is actually more common now than in the past due to shift working and 24-hour services, etc. Siesta aside, I don't believe this is generally considered more natural or healthier than the 'standard' pattern.
posted by Segundus at 5:18 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only thing more predictable than these "Study Proves Sleep Should Be Totally Different" stories is everyone's insistence that their needs or systems or desires are the way that it simply must be done.

How about a little less "You are all wrong" and a little more "Here's what works for me" all around?
posted by Etrigan at 5:27 AM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh hey I tried that 4-hour sleep thing last night. I use the SleepCycle app, and my sleep quality came in at a whopping 39%. Compare to that day last week when I slept for 7 solid hours and got 99% quality. Anecdotal science, that's what I'm talking about.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:04 AM on March 12, 2013


If you really want to sleep badly at night get some kids.
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


No mention of TV and videogames? There's no real reason I should be up watching Robocop 3 past midnight, but its on, and I can't sleep without the TV on. I'm probably not the only one.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:22 AM on March 12, 2013


I can see some logic in this. But on the other hand, cuddling.

The thing that really detracts from my sleep is our evil cat though. I've had a nice, well-behaved cat for about 14 years now. A couple years ago we thought it'd be a fantastic idea to get a kitten. We have regretted it ever since.

This animal DOES NOT SLEEP. He's two years old and hasn't figured out that he can retract his claws when he runs around. He loves destroying the carpet, furniture, and books. His favorite artist is Jackson Pollock, who he imitates using his water dish. When he tires of Attack The Elder Cat, he sometimes turn to Attack The Human Feet. He is the Chiefest and Greatest Calamity of our Age.

Compared to that, a little snoring, jabbing in the ribs, taking over all the space, etc. is not even noticeable. We have long since recognized our need for separate blankets/sheets.
posted by Foosnark at 6:27 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I work all sorts of strange shifts that can change on a moment's notice, sometimes at night and getting home at 6 or 7 am. Add to that the fact that I'm an insomniac, live in a very loud area and over a subway.

Lock the animals out of the room, get blackout curtains and a big, white-noisy boxfan and some earplugs. It's not ideal, but at least now I can get a few hours. Took me a few years to figure that one out.
posted by nevercalm at 6:37 AM on March 12, 2013


If I am tired enough, spouse in bed doesn't bother me (though we do have two flat sheets, because he is an irredemable sheet-stealer). But if I am having any trouble dropping off, I have to switch to the guest bed or couch. It used to be a problem when all we had was an uncomfortable loveseat, but now we have the world's comfiest couch and frankly, I almost prefer it to the bed.

I am most productive from about 11 to 7. I've only ever had one job that let me work that shift. Which sucks because it allows enough sleep but you also get off work with enough time to still do things/see people.

I've never really done the sleep-in-shifts thing, though. I'm either up or not, except on Sunday, which is Mandatory Nap Day. Those are the best effing naps, too.
posted by emjaybee at 6:54 AM on March 12, 2013


I blame Craig Ferguson.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:57 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I sit here at work, bleary-eyed, I mentally raise a fist in solidarity with my fellow owls. My personal sleep schedule would work best from 2-3am to 10-11ish.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:10 AM on March 12, 2013


DON'T YOU REALIZE IT'S 11:30 IN THE FUCKING MORNING just doesn't make any sense to... anybody.

Wax earplugs, a running fan and/or a white noise generator are your friends. I use these things to sleep at night because otherwise I am woken up by the early morning Chicago Transit Authority bus stop announcements that occur right outside my apartment window. The announcements are so useful when on the bus but not so much when you are not on the bus. There is however, nothing that can be done about the bass thumping sphincter-chapeaus who shake entire buildings with their overbuilt mobile self inflicted slow motion hearing loss devices.
posted by srboisvert at 7:14 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


bass thumping sphincter-chapeau

Oh god srboisvert - good on you, really.
posted by nevercalm at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2013


Has the experiment on sleeping alone versus with others been done in different cultures or controlling for how people slept as infants/toddlers, eg. if they were raised in a co-sleeping family versus a baby in the crib in a separate room family?
posted by eviemath at 7:49 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, this is how tesseractive and I have lived for years!

(We're both cuddlers, incidentally -- you can get some cuddling time in and then hop off to your own room. Neither your snuggle nor your sleep will feel neglected, I promise.)
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2013


The best I've ever slept and felt was a job I had that had me working from 6pm to 2am. I'd roll out of bed around noon (no alarm clock!), head to the gym to wake up, come back and shower, have a nice, leisurely meal of some kind and otherwise gear up for the day. I even had enough time to run errands in the afternoon and nobody else would be in the store or at the doctor's or whatever. Then I'd roll into work ready to go. Everyone had to take care of meetings and such right when night crew rolled in, so we'd get all the work BS out of the way, they'd all leave, and I'd have the rest of the night to get shit done. I got so much work done. I don't think I've ever been that productive. I'd leave promptly at 2am, head home and wind down until about 4 or 5am, then fall into bed. Ah, it was bliss. I'd give anything to have a job with that schedule that paid me a professional salary.

I mean, I CAN keep up with the daywalkers. I have to rigorously enforce things, but I can be more-or-less functional on a 9-5 schedule. But give me any time off at all and I'll be staying up til 2-4am and sleeping til noonish and then have to spend days resetting myself.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:23 AM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm on the separate bedrooms train too. Between my insomnia and his restless leg syndrome, separate bedrooms is pretty much the only way to go if we want to get any sleep at all. Right now, our bedrooms are on opposite sides of the house, which sucks, but we're working on a plan to add a second master bedroom that connects into the master bathroom/closet so we have our own little suite (it's going to be so awesome when it's done!).

One of the weird things we've had to "deal" with is that we've always had a master bedroom and a "spare" bedroom that was actually our second bedroom, so one of us has to take the "crappier" room (smaller, less/no closet, etc), which can be frustrating. That was most of the reasoning behind making a master suite, so we can both take full advantage of our current house's huge master bedroom and closet.

I do wish people would be less judgey about it though. Our marriage is doing just fine despite the lack of bed-sharing, but any time it happens to come up, we get weird looks like we're Doing It Wrong. I know, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, but it's still awkward.
posted by ashirys at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mrs Segundus is a thrasher. I'm used to being kicked, and occasionally elbowed, but twice in the last month she's flopped an arm over and slapped me in the face around four in the morning. She assures me it is an unconscious byproduct of general restlessness, but if I see a baseball bat leaning by the bed one night I'm moving out.
posted by Segundus at 8:43 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to be a total night owl, but I've finally figured out my ideal sleep schedule - from around midnight to 10am in the morning. Yes I do need between 9 and 10 hours sleep a night (my partner needs 6 or 7, curse him) to feel rested and it's a pain. And if I have to get up before 10am it doesn't matter what time I go to bed, I'll feel tired and like shit all day. Even if I do it every day.

On the other hand, I can't sleep on my own. I need another body in the bed, partly for cuddling but mostly for warmth. I am cold sleeper and don't heat up the bed effectively myself, so I spend most of the night huddled next to my SO like a little heat vampire. Alone I freeze and can't sleep.
I tend to wriggle though, and there was the "tried to choke him in my sleep" incident, so I'm not sure he's as enthused about the situation as I am.
posted by stillnocturnal at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2013


I used to be in awe of my mother's rigid 10pm - 6am sleep schedule. Every day! And she'd fall asleep within minutes!

Even as a toddler I didn't sleep that much. I dreaded the idea that my babies would be like me (they aren't. They sleep well and long and wake up groggy every morning, which means lazy-slow cartoons and beverages before playtime begins).

Like one poster above, the schedule that fit me best was sleeping 8am to noon, then 7pm to 10pm every night. When I ran my own business and offered 24-7 email tech support, this was ideal. Now that I'm back to an 8-5 gig AND have babies, well, I'm just grateful that I can deal with life well on little sleep, because I get wired every night around 10 when the house is quiet and I think "NOW I CAN PLAY!"
posted by annathea at 9:11 AM on March 12, 2013


With regards to the whole sleeping alone/ sleeping together thing: don't forget temperature! In Ben Franklin's day nobody had furnaces or central heating. Trying to sleep when you are uncomfortably cold sucks, and having a nice warm body next to you helps enormously. I had this little epiphany when our furnace pooped out, but still I am glad to have mr. ambrosia there next to me even in July.
posted by ambrosia at 9:29 AM on March 12, 2013


^this^

Shepherd is one of the warmest creatures I've ever come across and I cling to him like a heat-starved monkey on Quebec winter nights.
posted by Kitteh at 9:34 AM on March 12, 2013


Oh gods, don't tell me you heat your cold feet on the poor bastard as well?
posted by MartinWisse at 9:52 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm *special* in that I find it really easy to switch sleep patterns, from a 11-12 PM to 6AM sleeping time during the week, to getting up at ten and going to bed after the World Service has long since started, but my preference is the latter pattern. The only reason I get up so early during the week is to have a quietish commute.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:54 AM on March 12, 2013


Oh gods, don't tell me you heat your cold feet on the poor bastard as well?

He offers! I never assume that I can. :)
posted by Kitteh at 9:57 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh gods, don't tell me you heat your cold feet on the poor bastard as well?

My husband kept trying to do this, then found out what an asshole I can be when roused from sleep by icy man-feet on my person. Now he wears socks.
posted by emjaybee at 9:57 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to be in awe of my mother's rigid 10pm - 6am sleep schedule. Every day! And she'd fall asleep within minutes!

My dad, 9pm unless its a work related function or party, and up doing yoga at 4am. He used to call me our native language's word for 'corpse' for sleeping during the day!
posted by infini at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ack. I was trying to type an on-topic, thoughtful response to this FPP and all I can think is how much I want my own room back. I do not like sleeping next to another person. I think my husband has me figured out though, because after a certain point in the night, he only hears 2 things from me - "roll over, you're snoring" or "don't touch me".
posted by PuppyCat at 12:01 PM on March 12, 2013


And God help you if you ever jack with my pillows. That is some seriously forbidden territory. Don't "borrow" one, don't move them unless I carelessly let one cross the ever-present center line, and NEVER shove one in your armpit as an armrest while you have snacks and watch football in the bed.
posted by PuppyCat at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2013


Protip for sleeping in one bed: Separate bedding. We have 6-7 blankets on the bed at a time, for two people. Doesn't fix the issue of one of you restlessly shaking the bed, but never will your blankets be stolen.

(Plus you can still sneak into the other person's blankets as required for sexytimes.)
posted by mrgoat at 12:27 PM on March 12, 2013


We went the other way, sharing the bedding but having separate single mattresses in our double size bed. That helps a lot with the pushing and the shaking.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2013


After reading the bit about the Sleep Disorder Centre, I have to wonder just how useful the data they gathered really was. You know, given that the person being tested has to lie down in an unfamiliar bed, covered in wires, with a tube up their nose, etc. Surely just about anyone is going to sleep poorly under these conditions.

Good article, though. If nothing else it helped me feel less guilty about my owl-ness.
posted by Broseph at 1:36 PM on March 12, 2013


My sleep story has to do with the job I had where I worked from 3 to midnight. I'd get home about 1AM, eat dinner, watch a bit of TV, and get to sleep about 3AM, sleep until 11 AM. Worked perfectly until summer hit and the apartment complex groundskeepers decided to mow the lawn and do other loud maintenance activities VEEERY SLOWLY outside my building at 8AM multiple times a week, and then the complex decided it was a fantastic time to replace the roof, so I woke up to the thud of nail guns directly over my head at 7AM for a week, and echoing from other buildings in the complex for a month or so.

The apartment I lived in a few years ago had a tenant above me who vacuumed the floor every night at 11:30 PM without fail, who decided once that midnight was the perfect time to start hammering nails into the wall to hang pictures, and who loved to leave the stereo on during the day so loud I couldn't hear myself think. I actually spent the last couple of months I lived there on medication so I could get to sleep (the doctor suggested it, actually, once I said that management wasn't helping any and that I was just waiting for the end of my lease to hurry up and arrive).

Mr. Telophase and I bought a king-size bed when we moved into our current house, because there wasn't enough room on our queen-size for both of us and two cats.
posted by telophase at 2:32 PM on March 12, 2013


Becks snores like Daffy Duck
posted by homunculus at 4:41 PM on March 12, 2013


Both Mr. Roquette and I get the hypnogogic jerk. He talks in his sleep too.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:48 PM on March 12, 2013


Protip for sleeping in one bed: Separate bedding. We have 6-7 blankets on the bed at a time, for two people. Doesn't fix the issue of one of you restlessly shaking the bed, but never will your blankets be stolen.

We tried this. I tend to make bed burritos in winter, where I hook whatever bedding I can between my feet and roll that shit right up. Not uncommon for me to have all six blankies and for him to wind up with one small corner of sheet, and I will sleep through all of that, with just my nose showing at the very tip.

These days we have a king size doonah on a queen size bed, and use kilt pins to fasten the bedding to the mattress. Even I can't budge that.
posted by Jilder at 2:21 AM on March 13, 2013


FTFA: Half of these nights they spent in one bed and the other half in separate rooms. When the subjects woke, they tended to say that they’d slept better when they’d been together. In fact, on average they’d spent thirty minutes more a night in the deeper stages of sleep when they were apart."
It is possible that there's more to being rested and alert than the gross number of minutes spent in the deeper stages of sleep. Few other human psychological states are reducible to such a simple metric.

If the subjects say they slept better, maybe they did - for all useful purposes such as awaking ready for an active day. But this wasn't tested; it was assumed that a stopwatch reading of deep REM behavior was equal to good sleep.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]




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