Quick sleep update

As an update to last night's entry: I slept in the living room again last night, and slept fairly well. Not a good long-term solution, though.

Thanks to all for the supportive and helpful comments. I should've noted that I already do everything within my power on the physical side. For example, as soon as this started I went back to wearing earplugs while sleeping. I'd done that for years, finally stopped around the beginning of this year (I was sick of my ears itching all the time) and discovered that I could sleep fine without them; that lasted 'til the end of March, when this whole noise thing began. The car is loud enough that it wakes me up despite the earplugs—no other car in the lot wakes me up even without earplugs.

(Someone told me the other day that the huge "muffler" on this car is probably actually a noise amplifier; it's probably not "just the way [his] car is," as Loud Car Guy told me in our confrontation a couple weeks back, but rather a deliberate choice to make the noise as loud as possible. I don't know enough about cars to know whether that's true, though.)

I also take an assortment of sleeping drugs (NyQuil, valerian, occasionally alcohol, once in a while a leftover Sonata), but for me any given sleeping drug becomes temporarily entirely ineffective after I use it one or two nights in a row, and they're often ineffective if I'm too tense (even though I suspect part of what all of them do is relax muscles). I've been listening to relaxing music before bed, and after waking up at too-early times, and it's helped some but not enough. I've been trying Heather's suggesting of stretching before bed, when I remember to; that, too, helps (a lot of the problem is sheer physical tension), but not enough. I'd like to be able to run white-noise, or even music, all night, but my apartment walls and ceiling are very thin, and I would hate to wake up my neighbors.

The problem is exacerbated by my general difficulties with sleeping: for example, I've never been good at falling back asleep after waking up (another skill I need to learn), and I tend to have a hard time sleeping in a new bed (so occasional nights in the living room may not work).

Greg suggested talking to corporate management. I confess that I'm extremely uncertain about who exactly owns this apartment complex; there's a management company that the guy I'm calling Apartment Complex Guy works for, but they're extremely flaky and hard to contact. There's a woman who might or might not be the owner of the whole thing who comes by to oversee maintenance sometimes, but I don't have any way to contact her directly; I don't even know her name. And the hint that I should move was subtle enough that I suspect Apartment Complex Guy would simply deny it.

Sadly, I can't just park in the space myself (but thanks for the suggestion, Jon!). That's what I did a few weeks ago, and it resulted in the big blowup that made things seriously worse. Also, there are two spaces that he commonly parks in that are right near my window.

I've also considered trying to move to another unit in this complex; unfortunately, I think most of the likely options are on the side of the complex where the narrow exit driveway is, and where presumably the noise would be significantly worse. Of the three buildings, one has bedrooms next to the parking lot, one has bedrooms next to the exit driveway, and one has bedrooms that front on the street—but that last might still be better than where I am. I should look into that. (It even occurred to me that I could ask to keep the same apartment number and have it moved to the new door, but it was pointed out to me that that would cause all sorts of difficulties. But I thought it was an elegant solution, in an impractical programmer kind of way.)

10 Responses to “Quick sleep update”

  1. Mel Melcer


    This all sounds rather bad. If I may, I’d suggest against moving within the same apartment complex–as you say, you never know what new problems you will find there, and if you then try to complain nobody will take you seriously anymore, no matter how real your issue is.

    We have the same with noisy neighbors next door–first a dog that would bark eight hours a day, then loud music… Now they installed a water pump that wakes my hubby up every morning at 7:00–which is miserable after he’s just come back from a night flight (he’s a pilot). But when we try to complain, they just shrug, “What, again a problem?” We got to the stage where we are about to buy them a new, quieter pump…

    How about finding a new place that would be substantially better than the one you have now? This could make you actually happy to move places…

    Hold on in there, Jed.


  2. Stella

    Man, that really stinks, Jed, and I’m sorry to hear about all the difficulties.

    As far as white noise goes, I’ve seen it used in the inpatient setting quiet often, where the walls are thinthinthin and the nurses yak at the top of their lungs all night long, and people are running in and out of rooms and other patients are screaming…

    Anway, the thing I’m trying to say here is that white noise isn’t usually irritating. It doesn’t tend to travel through walls or closed doors much if at all. You can get several different very nice kinds, including zen bell chimes, and it does a very effective job of swamping out things like Big Noisemaking Cars.

    Good luck with the situation: I hope that you don’t end up having to move, as moving tends to be a big pain in the rear.

  3. Tempest

    Another suggestion for you, Jed. What you need is an Angry Black Woman ™ to deal with this guy. Trust me on this. You see, everyone fears Angry Black Women, even big black men, because they know the power of the fury of the Angry Black Woman. She can intimidate anyone without the risk of someone feeling threatened, per se, but just feeling like if they don’t do what the Angry Black Woman wants them to do, they will pay for it in some way.

    So Jed, next time you park in Loud Car Guy’s sopt or whatever you need to do to deal with him, just bring along an Angry Black Woman, because she will not take any of his shit, and if he yells at her “Are you confronting me?” she will say “Yes I am, BOY, so whachoo gonna do about it?”

  4. Beth


    Oh how I sympathize with you. For at least a year, I had interrupted sleep, and it makes the entire day a frazzled and miserable mess. If you still want to try white noise, one possible solution is to buy an air cleaner/filter. The noise won’t travel through the walls, but it makes a steady sound mask.


  5. SarahP

    Though Tempest’s idea might work–and it scares the sh!t out of me!–there are other options. You shouldn’t have to move or put quilted hangings on your walls or make drastic physical changes in your life. That wouldn’t be fair, as you’re not the source of the problem.

    But here’s a possible solution for sleep problems in general. I’m married to an insomniac. He has this thing he calls the “hamster wheel” in his head: he starts thinking about the sources of stress in his life (something not going right in the lab, an exam to grade, departmental politics, etc) and he simply cannot stop thinking about it, around and around and around, and it keeps him up at night. It sounds to me as if you’ve got the same kind of thing going. John’s solution to the problem is to create lag time between his usual evening activities (work) and bedtime. For him, that means an hour before bedtime he stops grading exams or preparing for class or whatever and goes for a run or watches part of a dvd or reads a fun novel. That way he’s less likely to bring the wheel to bed with him: the hamster’s had a chance to jump off for a while and rest. For you, it might help to create some lag time–no reading subs or editing, no blogging, no screens or print of any kind–before settling down to sleep. I know you live in California, so going for a walk is probably not an option (!), but even going out for a twenty minute drive might work to break the hamster cycle.

    Talking the problem out on your blog is probably a good thing, though, as long as it’s not right before bed.
    Anyway, good luck with loud car guy! (Hey, Tempest, mind if I sic you on my neighbor? The one with the unleashed rottweiler?)

  6. Tempest

    Oh yah, Sarah, anytime! I’ll get out my Angry Black Woman ™ outfit on ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. JRG

    Jed —

    I must admit, in The Grand Scheme of Things, that while loud people, in my opinion, generally suck, it is a bit hard for me to get sympathetic about your inability to sleep. See, I have two beautiful but light-sleeping children (2.75 yrs and 7 mos.)… so basically I haven’t had a solid night sleep for 1,000 nights.

    On the other hand, warm milk works pretty well. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. anon

    Dude, just wait a few weeks, then slash his tires. A pair of big pliers will allow you to snip the air stems off the tires and he’ll need 4 tires. You wait a few weeks so he’ll forget you complained… otherwise, you can take a drill and drive a screw into each of his door locks….

    either way, he’ll park somewhere else

  9. Jed

    Dude, I appreciate your attempt to be helpful, but did you notice the date on this entry? This all happened two and a half years ago. I moved to a new house two years ago. Also, I don’t do stuff like that.

  10. dennis

    it’s sad funny.i can’t count the times in the past i’ve replied to posts that are like really old and not realised it til later sometime..it’s alsmost embarrassing.


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