I sleep with the tv on. This is one of those oh-so-delightful quirks of mine that has lead to the end of many relationships. I don’t much care for tv. I don’t spend hours watching it, but when I go to bed at night, I like the inane noise. I can’t sleep to just any television show, though. It has to be something I’ve heard over and over again. It has to be something I don’t care about with noises and voices that remind me of home.
Over the years and the protests of sleeping with the tv on, I’ve had to really search for why I can only sleep when it’s on. This is the answer:
When I was 6 years old, my family moved to a new house. There was no tv in my bedroom, but my parents room was very close and the family room was across the hall. When I went to bed, my parents (or always my dad), would stay in the family room watching tv. I could hear it from my bedroom. When I was 6, it was 1976 and we didn’t have cable. I’d fall asleep comfortably until the star spangled banner and wake up when the static started. My dad often fell asleep in front of the tv. I always felt safe when I heard either the noise of the tv, the star spangled banner or the static. I eventually understood these to be the steps before I’d be terrified.
I grew up a little after that. I was 12 when we got cable and my room moved downstairs. I still had no tv in my room, but I also didn’t sleep well. Sometimes, I didn’t sleep at all, but I was too old to complain. That’s when I started loving music (I had a radio in my room), writing (I always had a notebook too), and when I occasionally didn’t sleep all night.
When I was old enough and on my own, I either had a tv in my room or slept on the couch so I could sleep through the night.
I also tried many times to do without, but as soon as the tv noise was gone, I woke up and stayed awake.
So, I sleep with the tv on. I prefer to think it’s really not that uncommon. I’m also close to cancelling cable. Sad that doing such a thing would cause me to worry about sleeping, isn’t it?