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How Do You Sleep?

Aside from being a rather bitter song by John Lennon, the title of this post is a sincere question. How do you sleep, dear reader? Mostly, I'm curious to hear about your bedtime routine (if you have one), and perhaps how soundly you sleep. But mostly the routine. Allow me to explain.

For me, bedtime is almost always the same. First, there is no television in our bedroom. I think that a bedroom is for one thing: sleeping. Well, ok, two things, if you want your mind to go there. At any rate, I've always found a TV to be a distraction when it comes to sleeping. So, that's out.

Since I was a wee nipper, I've listened to the radio at night. This began when I heard my mom listening to Larry King's old talk show that used to air overnights. Something about that intrigued me, so I began listening, too. It was always an interesting time, what with Larry and his cadre of quirky guests. Mr. King wasn't really that good of an interviewer (he interrupted the guests too often, especially when they were answering a question he'd just asked). And I remember the night that I had to turn the show off because I couldn't stand any more of Redd Foxx's gravely voice.

In the late 1980s, I moved on from listening to a live radio program to radio shows on cassette. This began with a collection of Arch Oboler's Lights Out plays from the 1930s and '40s. For those uninitiated into the world of this old-time radio series, it's an anthology of various creepy and unusual goings-on, from God wiping everyone off the face of the Earth but those on a plane, to a man who entices women to come to his house and then buries them in concrete, to the story about a creature living in a sub-basement underneath downtown department stores that got me so scared I had to turn it off and calm down at one point.

The collection of radio programs at my disposal has grown quite a bit over the years, so that it now contains literally hundreds of programs, ranging from tons of old-time radio shows, to BBC Radio 4 dramatizations of stories by authors such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Patricia Highsmith, to name but a few. Ashley & I pick out a program each night, set it at a decent volume, and let the voices and the stories lull us to sleep.

As for how I sleep, well, it's typically on the left side of the bed (except for after cancer surgery last year, when I spent a month sleeping on the recliner every night -- not something I care to repeat). And I sleep soundly. Deeply. As a matter of fact, I've slept through several thunderstorms, a cat who incessantly tries to wake us up by knocking things off the bedside tables, and even an early-morning earthquake.

So, dear reader, how about you? What are your nightly rituals? I've read that author P.D. James enjoys reading a book at bedtime. Some folks enjoy falling asleep to the television, or have a white noise machine. For some, music plays softly in the background as they drift off. For others, silence at night is golden. How do you prepare to sleep, per chance to dream? Feel free to write back in the comments section here, or on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for reading.


  1. I agree that there should never be a TV in the bedroom. The noise and the light will keep me awake. There were times, when I was in HS, that I would fall asleep to music, but not anymore. Now, I need silence or, as with the TV, I'm awake until it's over.
    As to just how I sleep, it depends on whether I am by myself or sleeping with someone. When I am alone, I toss and turn a lot, sleeping in hap-hazzard positions, but I sleep more soundly. When I am sleeping with someone, I take the left side, and I start off content and relaxed, drifting quickly to sleep. However, I never sleep as soundly, because throughout the night, it is as though I am consciously aware of the other person, and, not wanting to disturb them, I make a point to try not to move about so much. I sleep lighter.

  2. I'm kind of the same, in the sense that when I used to sleep alone, I could spread out and get into whatever position felt good. Since I sleep with someone now, it's sometimes more difficult finding a comfortable position, but I eventually manage it.

    Thanks for commenting! I've started following your blog. Good stuff!

  3. I need silence. And the dark. So no TV in the bedroom. The room is so small, we probably couldn't fit one in at any rate. No music either because I listen to it until it's over. Silence. Blessed silence.

    As to how I sleep - less and less well unfortunately. Used to be that I could sleep through anything. Now I dread the insomnia that often creeps up on me.

  4. I think it's neat how so many of the people that have responded to this (most of them on FB) don't have TVs in the bedroom.

    And it seems to be a trend that the older people get, the less well they sleep. :-/


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