Sleepless In Montreal

Sleepless In Montreal

As the upstairs neighbours drift into a euphoric slow-wave dreamless delta state, their  brain waves slowing and enlarging blissfully like the heart of an angel (with dilated cardiomyopathy), a sudden and almost paralyzing shriek fills the air.

“FLO GET THE F*@&! AWAY FROM THE DOOR! I swear to god I’ll spray you!”

The screen door we installed on the bedroom, so that air and heat could circulate without the cats getting in (because even the mere sound of them licking themselves at the foot of the bed is enough to wake me from sleep. And also there’s already enough cat hair in the rest of the rooms of our house to knit enough blankets to keep the entire population of Oymyakon warm), slams shut repeatedly.

One of our 657 cats has figured out how to pull it open not enough for her to get in, but  just enough that when the magnet pulls it back from her little paw, it slams against it’s frame, over and over and over again with each attempt at entry.

“I’m going to spray you! Where’s the Spray bottle? JO! Spray Flo!”

and then later that night,

“Okay Phoebe, shhhhhh it’s okay sweetie, bring the toy here. Ok, we see it, that’s nice, you can be quiet now…”

Phoebe howling like a banshee in heat, excitedly announcing to the entire house that she has found a tinsel ball, or catnip mouse, or 2 pound dog toy, or a dirty sock.

“Okaaaaay Phoebe, shhhhhh. Okay Phoebs, please be quie… PHOEBE! SHUT! UP!”

My throat often hurts and I can barely sing anymore. Talking for more than a few minutes is painful, due to the feeling of tightness and vocal strain. The ENT says my vocal cords look thin and tired. She prescribed vocal therapy and a sleep study. Your body might not be rejuvenating adequately at night.

The sleep specialist asked about my sleep hygiene. What is sleep hygiene you ask?

Oh, well according to sleep hygiene is: a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.

  • Limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes.
  • Napping ? I’m sorry… I’m not familiar with this napping thing. It sounds like something somebody would need at least 30 extra spare minutes in the already not long enough day, in order to participate in. Also, I’m a little bit kidding. Not about the no time to nap thing – that’s real. But about the not knowing what it is. I’ve tried it a couple of times but apparently it takes practice to be able to do it without waking up in a state of disoriented terror. I’m sure it’s lovely if you can get past that hump.


  • Avoiding stimulants or other disruptive substances, such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, close to bedtime.
  • Guilty. but only because I don’t stop to unwind until about an hour before bed. I’m still frantically stumbling through life at “happy hour” so wine o’clock is inevitably very close to bedtime. Why don’t you stop drinking wine then? You might be asking me in your head, or in the area designated for comments below which would be cool because then I would know that more than one person reads this blog. And I would even respond. Even if only, and probably, just something like “hahahaha! Hilarious!” but still…


  • Exercising to promote good quality sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality. 
  • Cute. I never stop moving in a day but thank you. And also I’ve been known to exercise up to 2 days a week on a good week. I box almost every week. I’m not sure how much exercise I’m getting but I do a lot of fake-cat punching so it works for me.


  • Steering clear of food that can be disruptive right before sleep.  Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people. 
  • So… white rice and baguette for supper?


  • Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light. 
  • So move to a different province, at least for the months of November through to mid-June. Got it.


  • Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine.  A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before attempting to sleep.
  • So… no more falling asleep in my supper while watching Rachel Maddow tear yet another  strip off of Trump on MSNBC, then taking the dog out in -40 degree weather before crawling into bed and listening to my girlfriend’s exestencial rants on the trials and tribulations of artificial intelligence taking over the world, right before attempting to re-enter a slumberous state?


  • Making sure that the sleep environment is pleasant. 
  • Please see the first paragraph of this post


According to WebMD, which I never ever EVER go to, because I am sophisticated lady and sophisticated people do not diagnose themselves on the internet, lack of adequate sleep can contribute to depression, memory loss, impaired cognitive process (it makes you stupid), impaired judgement (makes you do stupid things or let stupid people do things to you), kills your sex drive, promotes chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders, increases the risk of death, and most devastating: makes you fat and ages your skin.

My multitude of specialists are not entirely convinced that the cats are 100% to blame for my sleep issues and have asked me to participate in a sleep study.

Needless to say, the night I went to bed looking like this, I got about 2 hours of sleep in total: 

Even though my girlfriend and all of our pets where too horrified by my get-up to come anywhere near the bedroom, much less attempt to disrupt me in it.

Waiting with bated breath for the results… 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge