Friday, January 15, 2016

Retirement Rest; Sabbatical Sleep

I wanted to do a post on how retirement is going for my husband, now that he's had a bit more than half a year to experience life-without-commuting.  But I realized that one of the all-by-itself big changes -- big enough that it's worth a mention all by itself -- is sleep.

Sleep, as in: being well-rested is one of the most Amazing, Life-Enhancing, Super-Awesome things there is.

My guy and I live at opposite ends of the clock in some ways. I've been reveling in the ways my sabbatical "lets" me wake up at 5:30 a.m. every day; even more significantly to me, it lets me put my head on the pillow at 9:30 at night, and I'm out like a lamp about 5 or 10 minutes later.   My husband, on the other hand, loves the late-night-roam-the-house-and-watch-the-late-show routine.  I'm guessing he usually makes it to bed around midnight, but I honestly have no idea.

When he worked, he did the late-night-roam-watch routine, AND he woke up whenever the alarm clock told him to -- often at 6 or earlier, a time he and his army buddies call "zero-dark-thirty".  And then, on his days off, he'd sleep until noon and wake up exhausted and wonder why he'd been so tired.  (His super-sleep-routine-conscious wife helpfully tried to explain various connections, but, y'know, being sleep-deprived impedes the learning process).  But now that he's not beholden to an Amtrak schedule, he gets up in time to walk the boys to the bus -- a ritual that means a lot to him -- which means he wakes up after  sunrise.  And even then, when the alarm goes off, he's not rushing to prepare for  meetings; and he's not keeping track of papers and clothes and appointments.  He's just brushing teeth and putting on a sweatshirt and jeans.  It's a much less brain-intensive kind of wakening, if that makes sense.

For my husband, the change in life that comes from change in sleep habits is way more dramatic than it is for me, largely because even when I'm not on sabbatical, I'm pretty anal about trying to stick to a healthy snooze routine.   (I don't always succeed, but I come pretty dang close, thank you.)  For my husband, though, the extra morning sleep is truly life-giving.  I can't think of the last time he had one of those sleep-till-noon-and-then-rise-exhausted days.  He's always had a lot of energy to take on crazy new ideas (Hello, Iraq!  Hello, IronMan! Hello, adopt-a-few-more-kids!)  But now he has enough space in his schedule and also in his brain to take over the more routine and boring old ideas, too:  cooking, supervising schoolwork, pediatric appointments, and such.

In fact, the lore about retirement is that it lets you sleep in, sleep late, and sleep all day if you want to.  But at least for my husband and me, what a bit of extra sleep means is that we're more awake than ever.  It's awfully nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment