Boomer Girl Diary: The secret to getting a good night’s sleep
I’ve got a little secret, and I’m hesitant to reveal it to you.
“Why?” you might ask. “You’ve been shamelessly airing your dirty laundry on this page for five years!”
“My laundry isn’t that dirty,” I might reply. “OK, maybe when I wear socks two days in a row. And it’s six years, but who’s counting?”
As far as you, my cherished readers, are concerned, my life is an open book, er, newspaper, er, Web page. TMI, my stock in trade. Embarrassing moments, my currency.
I don’t always tell you everything, however.
People keep secrets for many reasons: Fear of ridicule, fear of getting hurt, fear of causing harm, and, in my case, fear of stigmatization.
Once this skeleton comes out of the closet, tongues are sure to wag. Such a disclosure could brand me as less of a woman and, worse, mark my marriage as something less than solid.
But I firmly believe the truth will set you free. So here it is (inhaling deeply), the big reveal:
My husband and I are sleeping in separate bedrooms.
There. The ugly, utterly unsexy truth.
(I can just hear your tongues wagging now: “It was bound to happen. Poor guy. The way she exploits his every flaw as column fodder. He kicked her out, he did. Don’t blame him a bit.”)
For the record, it was I who kicked myself out. And, yes, for reasons I have previously explained in this space.
First, there was the snoring, unhampered by hundreds of slugs in the arm and urgent pleas to “ROLL OVER!” I tried industrial-strength earplugs but, inevitably, they’d fall out and to the floor where the dog would snarf them like hot pink chunks of sirloin. (At least it made the doo-doo easier to find in the yard.)
Then there were the 4 a.m. trips to the bathroom — his and hers (but, for the record, mostly his). The coming and going would wake the dog, who would insist on going outside for some relief of her own. After a shot of chilly night air, I’d be up until sunrise, amusing myself on Pinterest and Classmates.com.
I experimented with kava and valarian root, Tylenol and Advil PM, melatonin in various dosages, Lunesta and Ambien CR. Nothing worked, and the morning-afters were like “Dawn of the Dead.”
Spacy and forgetful at work, my coffee consumption at an all-time high, I had to take action. My son’s old bedroom upstairs — ski posters and ska band stickers and all — would be MINE! The funky green futon would have to go.
Oh, but I worried. Relationship experts warn couples against keeping separate sleeping quarters. Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says sleeping in separate bedrooms “is a symptom of couples giving up on intimacy. Instead, couples need to have open and honest discussions about stress, fear and bothersome habits.”
So I tried that, too:
“Honey, I’d like to honestly tell you that your snoring stresses me out. I fear I’m going to go insane one night and kill you over this bothersome habit.”
“They’re having a mattress sale down the street,” he replied.
“Giddyap,” I cried, and hopped in the car.
The bed arrived this week. As my husband of 32 years and I made it up with brand new, 600-thread-count sheets and his mother’s old quilt, I felt a pang of sadness. Could this be the end of intimacy? Was our marriage something less than solid?
I fretted about it until bedtime. Then I kissed him goodnight, climbed the stairs and hit the sheets.
Ten hours later, I woke up. Ten glorious hours I had slept in total silence! That’s almost twice my average the last 10 years. Next night, same story: Nine hours of blissful, unadulterated slumber.
Turns out, he’s sleeping better, too. Guess my nightly sheet-kicking routine was a little jarring.
As for the intimacy, I’m no longer worried. Why? Because of a little thing called “visitation privileges.” And that, my friends, will remain my little secret forever.