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13 December 2010

How deep do you sleep? Do you sleep light, or heavy?[More:]My college friend could sleep through a party in his room. I was woken up last night by a cat meowing three rooms away (doors open). Which are you?

Oh, and I never, EVER use an alarm clock. They are evil. I've trained myself to wake up at the correct time, whatever it is.
I sleep though most things. I usually wake up before my alarm, but not consistently enough not to need one.

When I was 17 I lived on a boat for a year and I've never slept so well before or since. I never had trouble getting to sleep and I always woke up unprompted at the crack of dawn.
posted by enn 13 December | 13:35
Both? I sleep through the cats walking and sleeping on me (which cracks-up/amazes the mister), but if there's an unexpected noise I'm instantly awake. I think that as long as my subconscious/sleeping mind knows what's going on (cats on me, the mister getting ready to go to work, etc.) it doesn't bother to wake me up.
posted by deborah 13 December | 13:47
It really varies, based on stress, how hot the room is, how kicky and flaily my partner is, how tired I am, etc. I guess that means I sleep light, or those things wouldn't get to me. But I am capable of falling into deep, deep slumber, especially during the occasional weekend sleep-in/grogfest.

When I'm going to be staying in a hotel I usually look forward to the sleep, because I tend to sleep well in those awesome, big beds in those quiet, boring, non-distracting spaces.
posted by Miko 13 December | 13:47
I sleep so lightly that I only sleep drugged in some way, so that's fake heavy? False heavy?
posted by rainbaby 13 December | 13:51
I used to be a heavy sleeper, then we had kids. My husband is a VERY deep sleeper, so it falls to me to exist in a state of catlike readiness in case we are attacked by ninjas in the night.
posted by jrossi4r 13 December | 13:52
Interesting question! Just last night I mentioned that if I was ever gifted a super power, it would be that to fall asleep at night, at a normal bedtime, without effort. My best friend, my sister in law and my mother in law can all sleep "at will", and the older I grow, the more envious I am of that gift. I have any number of sleep aids and techniques that I employ, and yet I still only fall asleep reliably once or twice a week. Last night, I lay awake until after four am. Needless to say, I am a wreck today.
That said, once asleep, I can sleep through pretty much anything, or quickly return to sleep if awoken.
I don't use an alarm because my husband's sleep schedule is annoyingly healthy and regular. He will wake me up when I need to get up.
Furthermore, if it is an afternoon nap I require, I can fall asleep with the sun glaring on my face, with the sound of construction workers or traffic jams or jet fighters blasting about, and I can fall asleep instantly.
posted by msali 13 December | 13:53
I'm... not sure? I wake up easily, but I fall back asleep easily too. (I don't fall asleep easily the first time though, but that's a separate thing.) I think I might be a bit like deborah - I can sleep through stuff that I know isn't a problem.
posted by gaspode 13 December | 13:57
Me too, Miko, about the hotel thing! (I always try to arrange things so I don't have to get up too early at a hotel.)
posted by Melismata 13 December | 14:09
I'm a fake heavy sleeper too. If I don't take some form of sleeping meds, I won't go to bed until around 2am or something absurd like that (which leads to badness the next day). Even Seroquel (400mg) and clonazepam (1mg) don't make me sleepy.
posted by sperose 13 December | 14:24
I've always been a very light sleeper and had a hard time getting to sleep. This seemed to get a somewhat better after I passed 45.

Nights in a motel are usually hell for me. Bad mattresses and bad pillows. Strange noises and they're never really fully dark. But maybe the solution to that is "spend more money".
posted by DarkForest 13 December | 14:26
I really vacillate. Some nights I sleep very, very solidly. Other nights I sleep very fitfully. Lately I've been leaning towards the latter, even on nights I've taken NyQuil to tamp down the ol' throat tickle. I can be very picky about heat, blankets and pillows.

I think both the mister and I probably suffer some form of sleep apnea; according to this article in our local weekly, we both fit the self-diagnosis criteria like wow.

I HATE hotels.
posted by Madamina 13 December | 15:07
I have been known to sleep.
posted by Eideteker 13 December | 15:28
I sleep fairly heavily, although sometimes I'll wake up before I've been asleep for an hour because I need to pee.

Until recently, I would regularly wake during the night, at least two or three times. Then, when I started having menopausal night sweats, I started sleeping with a fan going in the room, and, even though the sweats have abated, I've carried on with the fan. I find I sleep so much better with both the white noise of the fan and the waft of air around the room. Now, apart from the occasional wake-up in the first hour, I sleep right through.

Usually I wake just before the alarm. I have two - one electric and an old-fashioned wind-up one as backup. If I'm woken out of sleep, I wake up straight away usually.

My ex-husband could sleep on a clothes line in a hurricane.
posted by Senyar 13 December | 15:59
Naturally deep sleeper here. Hotels are especially dangerous for me because they tend to have black-out curtains. My current apartment has a sky light right above my bed, which helps keep me from over-sleeping.
posted by mullacc 13 December | 16:41
Generally, I fall asleep easily, because I'm exhausted by the time I finally give in and crash. Funny enough, when I wake up I'm usually fully awake, even if I only slept for five or six hours.

If I vary my wake time for an hour or more, it's a guaranteed migraine. That sucks.
posted by toastedbeagle 13 December | 16:58
I fall asleep pretty easily and sleep deeply, although I wake up instantly if one of the kids cries out or something. I don't sleep well in hotels or anywhere else that isn't home, even though the beds are invariably more comfortable that mine at home.

If I sleep late, I always end up with a screaming headache - any later than about 7 am and I'm a wreck for the whole day.
posted by dg 13 December | 17:33
Should have added: I don't fall asleep easily unless I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open. I often lay awake for an hour or two before sleeping. Sometimes I take an OTC (Unisom) to help and it does fairly well. The mister, on the other hand, is often asleep within a minute or two or less. Lucky bastard. I wonder if my circadian cycle is longer than most peoples. I can stay awake a long time, but then I sleep a long time as well.

And I love sleeping in decent+ hotels and hate cheap motels.
posted by deborah 13 December | 18:15
I used to be a pro...fell asleep easily, slept as long as I needed to, without waking easily, but able to waken when the girls needed me, etc. Never really needed an alarm either.

The last 2 months or so, I can still fall asleep most nights, but I awaken 2-3 hours later, and that's about it. I'm awake for the day around 3:30 most nights now. It's pretty annoying. I have a friend who theorizes that I'm just evolving. Heh.
posted by richat 13 December | 18:25
I'm a fairly easy sleeper, in that I rarely have trouble (these days) falling asleep, but I do sleep lightly enough that I'm awakened by odd noises like heavy wind, dogs barking, loud cars outside, etc... We just recently insulated our house, which has really damped down the outside noise, and has significantly cut down on the odd noises that wake me up.

The last place I lived was ostensibly in an "upscale" neighbourhood out in the suburbs, but in reality was one of the most terrible places I've ever lived for night noise. Seriously, I've lived in (multiple) inner-city ghettoes that weren't as bad. Nearly every house had a dog or collection of dogs that would randomly bark most of / all night, the neighbours on one side had a colicky baby that they'd take out onto their back patio (which backed onto the cul-de-sac right below my window) in attempts to soothe it whilst it shrieked uncontrollably for hours, the place across the street seemed to be some species of drug / party or gamer house, and the couple living next door on the other side were your classic domestic violence scenario, also with a baby. It seemed just about every night somewhere around 10 or 10.30 PM, The Batshits would start in on some species of screaming rant, which then started every dog in the neighbourhood barking, then poor Batshit Junior would start wailing, which would wake up Colic Kid who would ALSO start wailing. Rinse, repeat until the wee hours or the cops showed up. Usually just as everything settled down, The Druglords across the street would start up with the OONCE OONCE OONCE and their modified-exhaust rice rockets squealing out of the driveway. It was unbelievably nerve-racking such that I took to sleeping in ear plugs. It's somewhat ironic that I now live right next door to campus, and find the neighbourhood here (keggers and all) vastly more tolerable than that suburban hellscape.

I'm also lucky to have a quiet sleeper for a partner, who also prefers a cool room and fresh air like I do. We typically sleep with a fan on in the room, and the window cracked unless it's way cold, which I think cuts way down on my restless sleep patterns in general.

I do find that I sleep a lot better when I practice good sleep hygiene; i.e. don't sleep in on weekends, go to bed at the same hour every night, don't read, eat, or internet in bed, etc...
posted by lonefrontranger 13 December | 18:45
Getting up: I wake up to light cues, so I only need an alarm when I travel, and even then I avoid thick blinds or curtains.

Going to bed: there's a point in the evening at which if I don't switch from laptop to a book, I'll be up till all hours.
posted by tangerine 13 December | 20:19
Light. I can hear spiders walking on the wall.
posted by chewatadistance 13 December | 21:32
Famous sleeper here. I can pretty much sleep anywhere on anything for any amount of time and don't wake up until the alarm goes off. I doubt that I've woken up in the middle of the night more than a dozen times in the last twenty years.

I'll probably die in an earthquake or fire without ever knowing about it.
posted by octothorpe 13 December | 21:43
I slept very well. Thank you.
6 am. Off to work.
posted by jouke 13 December | 23:56
I sleep somewhere that is not my house probably one night out of every week, on average and you'd think I'd be better at it. I'm lucky to have a life where I don't have to get up at any particular time because I'd flat out not be able to. I sleep okay most nights but I worry about it a lot. To fall asleep I need to be someplace still and dark and quiet [optimally] for a solid half hour before I drift off. I usually sleep with earplugs. I take benadryl to sleep most nights, sometimes harder stuff. I generally stay asleep once I'm asleep unless I'm really anxious. I don't use an alarm clock if I can help it, being jolted awake ruins my day. My bedtime is anywhere from 11 pm to 4 am and I wake up anywhere from 9 am to 1 pm. I'm not bragging or complaining, it's just how it is.

My favorite thing in the past few years has been to take a red eye flight and get home around 11 am and then keep myself up all day. When I finally let myself go to sleep [usually right after it gets dark, whenever that is] I fall almost immediately to sleep and I sleep totally solidly for hours and hour. I imagine that some people sleep that way all the time and I am somewhat envious of them.
posted by jessamyn 14 December | 00:23
It generally depends on whether I'm exercising during the day; when I do, I fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply. If I'm not, then I can sleep through a fair amount but noises that trigger my "Someone needs help" response will wake me pretty quickly (these days, it's usually just the cat meowing piteously because she's bored and wants attention).

If I'm super-anxious, then I'll have a hard time falling asleep and tend toward anxiety dreams, which will keep me waking up throughout the night.

I usually need it pretty quiet to fall sleep, or else white-noisy. It's taken me a while to be able to sleep in our new house, because it's *so* quiet that any tiny noise (including my own breathing) sounds immense, and my partner hates white noise so I agreed to go without for a while and see if I could do it. It was difficult for a month or so, but I've come to actually like the quiet now.
posted by occhiblu 14 December | 00:32
I'm asleep now.
posted by Obscure Reference 14 December | 07:00
I vary between light and heavy. I tend to use earplugs these days; started doing that when Mr. V's snoring used to keep me awake. Generally I can't sleep with a tv or radio on; but if I'm exhausted I can. I guess mostly I'm a light sleeper - that's why I love my earplugs!
posted by redvixen 14 December | 09:24
redvixen, me too: I started using earplugs when I first met (and started sharing a bed with) mr alto, because of his snoring. Now I can't sleep without them, regardless of how quiet it is or whether he is there/snoring or not. I do wonder what this is going to do to my ears in the long run, and whether I might be able to wean myself off them.

I generally sleep pretty well; my yardstick for anxiety is that it's really bad if it's interrupting my sleep. It still takes me a long time to get going in the morning.
posted by altolinguistic 14 December | 10:12
oh and as for light or heavy: let's just say that I slept through the 1987 hurricane (the only one we've ever had in England).

Like deborah, I can sleep through anything if it's part of "normal" (mr alto getting up, the cat climbing into bed with us). This doesn't account for the hurricane.
posted by altolinguistic 14 December | 10:15
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