Monthly Archives: September 2008

Sleep and kids

I have an appointment at a sleep clinic in a few months. I strongly suspect I have sleep apnea, although I also strongly suspect that I can eliminate it by sleeping on my side. The problem is that side sleeping seems to be bad for my carpal tunnel syndrome. (Long story short: I’ve been in treatment for nearly a year and a half, physical therapy for four months, and I just had an MRI scan of my neck which ruled out a herniated disk as part of the problem. I’ve got muscle tension all up and down the areas where those nerves run from the brain to the hands, all of which contributes in some way.)

One reason I haven’t done anything about my sleep apnea suspicions is that there are so many things that affect a good night’s sleep. In particular, it was just this spring that the kids have stopped treating our bedroom as a late-night Grand Central Station. And there’s been some backtracking there.

Most nights Sylvia will come into our room, having just had a nightmare, and ask me to help her think of good dreams. I don’t like being roused from my bed, but in moderation this is one of the joys of parenthood.

We tend to get happier as we get older, and I believe that the main reason is that over time we learn to live with our bodies and our brains. We learn tricks to get around our nagging limitations and develop habits which suit our idiosyncrasies. I am particularly enjoying opportunities to teach these tricks to Sylvia. It’s not something I remember anyone ever doing for me (although I’m sure I just wasn’t aware of it) and it’s something that only I can offer her— and which only someone of my temperament will value. There is nothing more personal than dreams, and perhaps she will inherit my lucid, self-referential dreams in which I know I am dreaming but can only affect the dream within the bounds of dreamland rules. When I give her dream ideas, I am passing a bit of my imagination to her, and helping her to form habits that will let her use her imagination to improve her life.