I am the only member of my family that isn’t nocturnal. What I mean is, I rarely have the restlessness that predisposes my wife, sons and even the two dogs, Comet and Dexter, to night-time sleeplessness.
In my youth, particularly during my service aboard Navy ships, I was functional when I was working (“on duty”) in the early morning hours, Working for years at a time on 4 hours of sleep, an early riser, eighteen-hour work days was the stuff of youth. If being a later-riser (6 AM these days) and earlier to bed is the sign of age, then I am “old”. In contrast, my wife has been a light sleeper and gets up at all hours. The dogs wake and follow her to the kitchen, the laundry, the living room and elsewhere. A sleep-aid – we really ought to by stock in the company making Zzzquil – helped us moderate the restlessness.
But the restlessness came back when our youngest “boomerang”ed home. Late at night, he returns from work (second shift), paces about the living room, and is sleeping fitfully just about the time we rise for work. However there are positive aspects to his insomnia. Matt does laundry. Of course, Sheri has to pull it out of the dryer for her one or two loads overnight. Matt has really developed a flair for the culinary arts. He starts cooking when we have gone to bed. Lately, he started making us breakfast and brings it to us as we get up. As some readers may be aware, I had to overcome a lot of trust issues with a family history of burned pots and flaming bedrooms in the early morning hours.
With a nine-month old to care for, our eldest son and his wife probably would have been restless without a genetic predisposition. Though I expect it more due to the boundless energy of youth, our middle son often calls or may drop in late in the evening for a life-talk with mom after my ‘taps’ ( the military shorthand for lights out) at 10 PM. I wonder when my sleeplessness will kick in? I can rely periodically on my wife’s cold feet -from her hopping in and out of bed, to rouse me. Drinking caffeine late in the day is just making me irritable, not very entertaining when blogging, and worst of all, having the urge to pee around 3 AM. But this is not genetic predisposition – that’s just age.