It occured to me last night, as I lay in bed for the 4th hour without sleep, that people who work odd shifts are at the mercy of the rest of the world, particularly our neighbours. People who wake up at 3am, as I do, or who work overnight have to sleep sometime. Many of us take naps in the afternoon. Others, especially people who work the graveyard shift, sleep — or would like to sleep — all day long.
The problem is the people who live around us. They are, for the most part, good people. My neighbours, for instance are great and I hope they never move, because I realize how good I have it (no young kids running around the yard.) But they do not, and should not have to tiptoe around the neighborhood when we (odd-hour-sleepers) are trying to sleep. But, what if they decide to smash bricks with a large iron bar 8 feet from your bed. Sure it’s through a brick wall and sure you take steps to minimize outside noise, like wearing ear plugs to sleep, but nothing can mask the repeated, irregular thumping of iron hitting brick.
In my case, outside noise that’s so loud that I can’t sleep is fairly rare occurence, but it does happen now and again and it’s a reminder that we are not our own masters when it comes to sleeping. We sleep at the pleasure of our neighbours.
Here’s some advice from a guy who’s been sleeping odd hours for many, many years.
- Wear earplugs. I like this kind (although not necessarily that brand.) You can get them at any pharmacy.
- If you need to, wear a sleep mask (like the one pictured above) or invest in some really thick blinds or drapes.
- Tell your family, friends and neighbours when you will be sleeping
- Do not keep a phone in the room where you will be sleeping.
- Live in a fully detached home, not a semi-detached, a townhouse or an apartment, unless the walls are VERY thick!
- If you’re going to put a window air conditioner in your bedroom, be aware that you’ll probably have to have it on all the time, while you are sleeping. Your window is no longer fully closed and the wood or plexiglass you have covering part of where the window used to be is not nearly as soundproof as glass.
- It gets a little easier in the winter when people tend not to linger outside for very long.
And… if you live next to someone who sleeps odd hours
- If at all possible, avoid banging bricks with large iron bars while your neighbours are sleeping. (Yes, we realize you have the constitutional right to bang anything you want at 1:00 in the afternoon, but just keep in mind well-rested people generally make better nieghbours.)
Feel free to add any advice as a comment below!