I wrote this entry Friday morning or so, but neglected to post it, and of course writing it turned out to be tempting fate; see ironic postscript. But I suppose I may as well post it. All references to "this week" actually refer to last week, of course.
I've been pleased to note that I haven't had much trouble sleeping lately. But something really surprising has happened this week: on two different nights, I've unexpectedly gotten eight hours of sleep.
I can't remember the last time I've had eight hours of sleep. Sometimes seven and a half (which is more or less my ideal), but more often six--my sleep cycle seems to go in one and a half hour increments. And I seem to be able to get by on about six hours a night pretty much indefinitely.
So getting eight hours of sleep in a night is very nice, but it kind of throws my schedule off--it means having significantly less time than I expected in the morning. Worth it, but a little disconcerting.
(I know, I know: "Jed, there's this device called an 'alarm clock' that can help you determine what time you wake up." I haven't used an alarm clock in years, except when I really have to be up unusually early; I tend to wake up earlier than I want to rather than later, and when I set an alarm, I wake up much earlier in anticipation of the alarm.)
I think part of what's happening is that I'm more capable of going back to sleep after waking up than I used to be; so when whatever noise it was woke me up at 5:00 or something this morning, I put in earplugs and quickly went back to sleep rather than being awake for the rest of the morning.
While I'm on the ever-fascinating subject of my sleeping habits, I may as well mention that my experiment in sleeping without earplugs is going fairly well. I still use earplugs when I'm expecting unusual noise in the morning--when there's someone sleeping in my guest room, for example, or when I'm traveling, or when I go to sleep unusually late and really need sleep--but most of the time I'm going to sleep without them, and then putting them in if awakened early in the morning. In general, my ears aren't itching as much as they used to, which is nice. The soundproof windows definitely help with this.
Ironic postscript, added late Monday night: Of course, I haven't had enough sleep any night since then. Last night (Sunday night) I went to bed much too late, then woke up much too early to some loud sharp noise somewhere, though I'm not sure where, and couldn't get back to sleep. I spent a while lying in bed trying to work out an elaborate pun in which the phrase "Pride: Goethe Before the Fall" was to be the caption of one of a series of images illustrating the Seven Deadly Sins, but it never quite came together, and eventually I got up. (And yes, I know how "Goethe" is really pronounced. This was to be a visual pun.)
I'm pretty sure that several of y'all newer readers are reaching for your keyboards to tell me about your favorite sleep remedy, so I should note that I've been coping with various forms of insomnia in various ways for ten or fifteen years now, and I know all the standard things that are supposed to work, and most of them don't work for me any more. But on the plus side, I really have slept better, overall (though with plenty of exceptions), this past year and a half or so than for quite some years previous; I have no idea why.