I have always had a somewhat strained relationship with sleep.When I was doing my undergrad at university I worked in a group home. I mostly worked nights. We were allowed to sleep but I rarely got enough and I would often have insomnia trying to sleep in a different place. Couple that with the fact that I was working through a lot of my childhood issues in counselling made matters much worse. The group home I worked in was close to the university but I was rarely able to go straight there after a night shift. Invariably, I would have to go home and sleep.
Sleeping back then was a difficult thing for me. I had quite a few routines around sleeping and if anything was the slightest bit off sleep would remain elusive. It had to be dark, I needed ear plugs, and the dog (later dogs) had to be in their places. I could never sleep with another human being in those days. Things went along this way for most of my adult life – until I met Deb when I was 33.
It was really hard for us to sleep together in the beginning. I only had a double bed (and we are 2 larger women). The dogs had their places and Deb had to kind of fit in amongst us. To complicate matters, every time Deb moved Tippy would growl at her. We did not really sleep well together until we got a king-size bed. We then added several more dogs and we eventually learned to co-exist sleeping together.
One of the things that really complicated sleeping with another human being for me was the fact that I was not really into anyone touching me while I slept. It meant that we both had to be on our own sides of the bed while we slept. We slept like this for many years. We had various dogs sleep with us as well. For several years MacKenzie slept with us. She would lay on her side and try to push me out of bed with her paws. This did not go over well!
After many years of adjusting how I sleep I now like to cuddle when I sleep. Sometimes it is with a dog but it is better when it is Deb. I am at her mercy because I am constrained by my CPAP machine and I can’t move over.
It amazes me that I am now quite flexible in my sleeping. I seem to be able to adjust much better to changes in my sleeping environment including the addition of new dogs. Piper is almost always pressed up against my legs for the whole night. It sometimes results in me having less and less room as the night proceeds but it does not really bother me. Sometimes, if I get up, I will slide her over and rub her belly. She doesn’t seem to mind. Currently our bed mates are Piper and Zoe. They both are great bed dogs. They can hold their bladders for 12 hours which seems to be the amount we need to sleep these days. I seem to sleep better, more soundly when I am cuddled up to someone. Perhaps there is something to be said for the family bed with dogs rather than children. I much prefer this sleeping arrangement.