Dreaming of sleep
‘Just right’ mattress is hard to fine
People wish for a million dollars and I used to, but now? I wish I could sleep like I used to, or, say, like a teenager. Or the cat.
People say get a good bed. But I don’t think it’s the bed. I grew up in a company house with my grandparents and I’m pretty sure that the mattress they had on their bed was the same one they had when they moved into the house when it was built in 1925. Beds were an afterthought in those days. If there was such a thing as a box spring I never heard about it. All the beds in our house had metal spring frames and the mattresses had feathers and I can’t recall a single conversation about a bad sleep.
People just slept in those days. There was no technique.
As a kid, I rolled out of the top bed of my bunk bed time and time again in my sleep and never even woke up.
I slept in the top bunk of a bunk bed on the railroad gang I worked on as a younger adult and still got a good night’s sleep. When I arrived at the site of the tie gang, a loose collection of boxcars on a siding near Tilley, Alta., the bull cook led me to the supply car and tossed me out a mattress that draped over my shoulder like a fur coat.
I took it to my new bunk car and threw it on the top bunk, the only bed left. I slept like a baby even on my first night, where I got about the same welcome as a new fish in Cell Block D, until I was awakened by a freight train barrelling by at 100 km an hour shaking the lightbulbs out of the ceiling of our car. Ten seconds after it passed I was asleep again.
The night before, I slept on a floor in a house in Toronto’s Chinatown.
I slept in a truck bed once as a hitchhiker from Sicamous, B.C. to Hope, B.C.
In university residence, the beds had mattresses that had to be 50 years old. Slept like the dead on them. They weren’t even part of the sleep equation. Nobody ever thought about what they were sleeping on.
Air mattresses, waterbeds, hammocks, couches, futons, backseats of cars, sitting up, sand, grass, dirt, tents, bare floors, carpeted floors ... minimum eight hours, possible 12. Who cared? Sleep was sleep.
I was well into my adult years before I bought my first new mattress.
Beds aren’t for the young. Apparently, they aren’t really for the old either. (Not that I’m old, but I ain’t young).
People my age go crazy trying to buy the right bed. We’re like a bunch of Goldilockses traipsing around through furniture stores ... too soft, too hard, too narrow, too wide, looking for the elusive “just right” mattress. Two hundred springs per square foot, sleep numbers, memory foam.
We’re zombies living in the land of the undead stumping along with handfuls of cash or credit looking for one good night’s sleep. Please.
We went through three brand-new mattresses in as many years once. And the best bed we found was the one we slept on while visiting our cousin in Halifax. Not too soft, not too hard. Just right. She can’t remember where or when she got it. We were willing to pay for her to go through hypnosis.
Getting seven hours a night, three nights in a row now is basically the science of alchemy. I try everything: warm milk. No beer at least three hours before hitting the sod. Absolutely no TV or screens of any kind in the bedroom. Exercise. Dark cherries. Meditation. Prayer. Kiwi. Baths. Feng Shui. Yogurt. Yoga.
I don’t know.
Maybe I should just sleep on all those fun times.
The cat can sleep through any uproar. Columnist Mike Finigan wishes he had the same ability.