Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shaking Bed Syndrome

My bed has this bad habit of shaking at night. It's been doing this for about two years now; not every night, but about two or three times a week. In the beginning, I used to think it was an earthquake. In our old house, there were several times when I ran upstairs into the living room (back when Clint worked swing shift), sure that we had just had an earthquake. Clint would insist that there had been no earthquake, and at times, would even resort to going to USGS's website just to convince me.

The shaking isn't always earthquakish though...sometimes it's much more subtle, just like a small jolt. It often feels like a cat has jumped onto the mattress, or a person has just rolled into the bed. But added to this is the sensation I get from time to time that something is actually putting physical pressure on me.  Last week, for example, I felt a cat jump on my bed and put it's paws on my back. I was certain that it was my cat Pharaoh, but I was perplexed because I remembered Clint putting him in the garage (our cats sleep in the garage at night because I'm a light sleeper). I rolled over to grab the cat, but there was nothing there. I went to the garage to see if Pharaoh was indeed locked in, and he was.

The thing is, I don't believe in the paranormal. Well, I shouldn't say that. I do believe that there are things out there that we can't fully comprehend; it would be naive for humans to assume that we know everything there is to know about the universe we live in. But I am extremely cynical when it comes to ghosts and that sort of thing. If you try to tell me your little ghost story and insist that it is 100% true, I'll nod along and ooh and ahh at all the right places, but inwardly I will think that you're full of crap. Sorry.

So, being the skeptic I am, I have come up with a theory as to why my mattress won't sit still at night, and why I occasionally feel tactile sensations.  I have always been an insomniac. It doesn't seem to matter how tired I am, the second my head hits that pillow, my mind starts buzzing like crazy with this thought and that thought and I can't seem to turn it off. But it's almost becoming this thing that I do to myself. What I mean is, even on the nights that I go to bed feeling very relaxed and stress-free, I will slowly begin to drift to sleep when my brain suddenly announces, "You're about to fall asleep now, so don't screw it up by thinking about pointless things!" And of course that's like telling a small child to not touch the hot plate...naturally her rebellious nature is going to take over. And WHAM, now I'm up all night. I screw myself over like this constantly.

So how does this relate to the shaking mattress? Well here is where I would need my sister's psychological expertise, but I think that all of those vibrations and jolts are actually hallucinations. Not of the "seeing" kind, but of the "feeling" kind. Do those exist? I almost always feel the shaking when I'm on the brink of falling asleep, so I think that my sadomasochist brain might actually be creating these tactile manifestations to keep me up at night. A sort of insomnia to the Nth degree.  I can't think of any other way to intelligently rationalize what I am experiencing, so I think I'm going to stick with this theory for awhile.