Down through the generations, one thing I think we can all agree on is that we value our sleep — some more than others – nevertheless, we do love it.
I’m a sleep expert, at least in my circles … which would be Bill and me and our children, and now you, I suppose! I know what keeps me from sleep, I know what helps me to sleep, and I know exactly what is needed on a road-trip to sleep quite comfortably in the car. I even know the exact moment when, as I work on going to sleep, it isn’t going to happen for me. I know how much time is needed to sleep, while having a variety of responsibilities the following morning. I know how long I can go without sleep before I become totally irrational and nonsensical (actually, let me change that — Bill knows exactly how long I can go before I am irrational and nonsensical).
We have a mattress that is so thick and plush that I almost need a little boost to get into bed! I love fresh, crisp, white sheets that break when you pull the comforters back. My comforters are white, Ralph Lauren, thick, soft, down comforters in all their glory. We currently have two on the bed but there are others nearby if need be. These comforters do exactly what they say — they comfort me. I love to push my feet into the sweet spot of an extra fluffy square of down.
Pillows are extremely important to me. I would have to even rank them above the sheets and the comforter, if I were indeed forced to make such a difficult decision! My pillows are made of the soft layers of goose down, not the sharp exterior feathers (no quills allowed in my pillows!).
I had four pillows, but now I am down to three, after leaving one in a Paducah, KY Holiday Inn Express (which obviously, I will never be back to retrieve). I’ve thought about replacing the fourth, but I have found I can still be quite happy with the three, so I’ve comfortably settled into that mode. Two of my pillows are a bit thicker than the other. The other is my favorite. It gets to go everywhere with me, cause I can smush it down into a tiny ball if necessary. It wears a different pillowcase than the other two because it is special. My kids always tried to steal it from me. I noticed when we moved Lance last week that he actually did acquire one somewhere down the line. I’m happy for him, even though I suspect it was my old original from long ago. I even washed it and dried it for him before he left for Nashville just to show him there were no hard feelings.
I went to Wikipedia to see what they had to say about pillows and this is one of the paragraphs stated. “Pillows have long been produced around the world in order to help solve the reoccurring problem of neck, back, and shoulder pain while sleeping. The pillow was also used to keep bugs and insects out of people’s hair, mouth, nose, and ears while sleeping.” I honestly wished I hadn’t even read that last line because that is my greatest fear — bugs crawling into some orifice of my body. I’m going to just leave it at that and move on.
I have some additional gear needed for me to sleep well. I will list them in order of importance. I need my phone next to me charging; a large cup of ice water with a lid — I will settle for a water bottle when traveling by plane; a “white noise” noisemaker; a fan softly blowing directly on me circulating the air in the room; a tube of cake batter Chapstick (I will settle for other kinds if needed); a dark room or a sleep mask; and, of course most importantly, Bill beside me. He is very low maintenance regarding sleep — although I think I have ruined him to be able to sleep without a noisemaker after these many years of marriage.
I attribute the origin of the noisemaker to my Mom and Dad. They had little noisemakers (as we called them) in every room where sleep took place, which I always thought was very considerate. Many families have their own language and family sayings that only the members know what they mean. I am making an assumption here I realize! Maybe that is just an Oklahoma thing? Regardless, it is true for our family. I believe over time words sort of morph into something unknown to an outsider, while remaining familiar and quite common to a family. When asked by an outsider what in the world we are saying and what does that mean, I usually ask them, “why, is that not really a word?” Sometimes I start to give the answer and I have to go way back to pick up the original saying so I can find the “why” it became the current word.
For example, my parents had their nightly routine, as we all do. If my Mom were still up after my Dad, which was usually the case, he would say, “Turn on the little noise maker.” Then it got shortened to “turn on little,” which then led to, “little” then “little” finally became a high pitched short burst of sound that I can’t do justice without speaking, but I will try to describe as best I can. It was sort of an “hhuhhmm” that went up in pitch towards the end of the sound, which clearly meant, “turn on the little noise maker before you come to bed.” I’m laughing right now as I reflect – picturing my Dad laying in bed with all his pillows surrounding him like a fortress, and his eyes closed making that sound. My Mom would then turn it on with a smiling, “Oh well.” And then he would laugh without opening his eyes. I can’t confirm that they went through this every night but, on nights when I happened to be present in their room before bed, this is exactly as it happened every time for my whole life. I feel certain it was dramatized for my benefit, as my Dad loved to make me laugh, but it was probably fairly consistent as they were with everything in their lives.
As ridiculous as this blog is today it is actually a huge part of our lives. Don’t they say we average about 25 years of our lives asleep? I think that warrants some discussion. It’s so odd, we lie down and until the sun comes up we sleep. We get refreshed so we can get up and do the same thing all over the next day. The Bible talks about sleep many times. Our family favorite is Ephesians 5:13-14 … “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, O’sleeper, and arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” I use these two verses to make the argument that Jesus doesn’t want us to get up before the light gets up. It works for me.
Today, I read from my Experiencing God devotional and it was Matthew 17. This is the story of Jesus taking his three closest disciples with him to the Mount of Transfiguration. “There, Jesus was transfigured into a glorious state and was joined by Moses and Elijah, two of history’s greatest men of God. The disciples, however, were asleep! At one of the most profound moments in history, the disciples were more interested in sleep than they were in praying with the Son of God.” I love sleep, but I’m hoping I can keep things in perspective. We rest and then we focus on Jesus and His plan for the day. God had to literally remove everything from the disciples’ sight but Jesus… “This is my Beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him.”
Refocusing on Jesus today, and then maybe a good rainy day nap!