Dear Reticular Activating System,
I do appreciate the role that you play in regulating my sleep-wake cycles. Also, I have come to appreciate what I once took for granted: being a generally heavy sleeper who can fall asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow (this no longer seems normal after being married to someone who is easily awakened by noises, worries, or dreams and can't get back to sleep until dawn). However, I do have a request: this ongoing state of hyper-alertness during sleep does not need to continue! Just because a tree branch scrapes the window, or the dog is catching balls in his sleep and running in his dreams, doesn't mean that I need to have my auditory pathways activated and find myself fully awake to evaluate noises multiple times per night. Especially at 2:38 a.m. Always, for 7 nights now, at 2:38 a.m. Could you calm down a little please?
It's interesting to me how many women that I've talked to about this phenomenon have said "Oh yes, that happens to me when my partner is away too..." Is the same true for men when their partners are away, do you think?