I am currently on a road trip to the sub-tropical area of the mid-west known as Indianapolis, Indiana (temperatures when we left mid-Michigan was -11F and it was 18F when we arrived, a tropical heatwave by comparison). My traveling companion and I spent the day in conversation with several to many people, and eventually departed company to go to our assigned places of repose for the evening. After reading for about a half hour (a typical evening experience for me, to wind down from the day’s activities) I turned out the light about 10:45 in the evening and looked to enjoy a restful slumber.
HA! The best estimate I could come up with was a total of about 3 and a half hours of actual sleep by the time the alarm went off at 8:00 the next morning. The bulk of the night was spent lying motionless and listening to the sound of my sleep program. Rain, distant thunder, wind chimes, and camp fires crackling are all soothing sounds eminating from my i-Pad. As I use this every night, it was as much of my normal night routine as brushing my teeth and wearing my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. Then why the disruption in my nightly experience.
I have noticed over the last 40 years that travel and sleeping in locations other than my normal bed would yield inconsistant results. Some nights would be the equivelant of being at home while others were extensive periods of torture, ending only when I could again place body upon the lumpy mattress at home (it may be lumpy, but the lumps are in the right places). Further contemplation revealed some times of torment could be reduced or eliminated by flipping end-for-end on the bed, putting my feet against the headboard and my head at the foot. Restorative sleep would result. Other locales resisted any satisfaction in any alignment.
Eventually I have determined I appear to be sensitive to the actual compass direction I am lying while attempting to sleep. If my bed at home is such that my head points to the West, then while traveling my best nights of sleep occur when my lodgings also have a bed running East and West. I am not sure if it has to do with magnetic lines of force or the rotational movement of the Earth, or some yet undiscovered organic GPS system locked deep within my brain, but this sensation of sleep vs. failure to launch has occurred more times than not.Even when moving to a new location would require abut a month to reset the compass direction before I would be able to sleep soundly at a new house.
Indeed, if this is the culprit, I fear my trip will be characterized by another three nights of restlessness and wistful awaiting the dawn. My current appartment is located in such a way that the walls do not align with the cardinal compass points, but are nearly 30 degrees out of line. Looking out the window of my living room allows me to see WSW (West by South West). To actually look to the west, I must lean over and look to the extreme right from my chair, allowing me to glimpse the sun setting. Short of creating havoc by massive furnature repositioning, this bed will never align with home. Sleep deprevation awaits.
Then again, having five times the usual coffee consumption (and regular rather than decaf) may have played a minor part in thes struggle…
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