Middle of the night

"Love is getting someone a glass of water in the middle of the night." – Charles M. Schulz, in a worn 1979 copy of Love is… Walking Hand-in-Hand

I have always felt that I have to have a glass of water on my night stand before I fall sleep. When I arrive at a hotel or stay at a friend’s house, the side of the bed I will sleep on is completely determined by which side I can access a night stand from. Because of this habit, I have long had a special place in my heart – well, okay, I have even fallen – for people who will get up in the middle of the night to get me a drink of water if I need one.

And I’ve also, when watching friends’ children overnight, felt really good to have the chance to get a drink of water for a child who wants one. Or to sit with them when they have a nightmare.

We are so vulnerable in our sleep. And it is a wonderful thing to feel like someone cares for you. I also think it feels just as wonderful to be able to take care of someone else when they wake from a nightmare, need a drink, or need to be held. And yes, since this is also a site about sexuality, let’s not be afraid to say that it’s sometimes nice to be able to wake up, hug and kiss your partner, or have sex (Yikes, did you ever imagine Peanuts and a sex talk on the same page?)

Sometimes when two people are in love, the bed that they share can feel like the safest, happiest, most comforting place to be in the world. Like everything that you want – or could possibly want – is right there in that bed. If you are fortunate, and you work hard at staying committed to your relationship and the values that matter to you – that bed can stay a safe harbor. If you mess up, or things otherwise fall apart, that bed can seem incredibly sad or scary. Like some of you, I’ve been there… and strangely enough, I’m grateful if only because it has reinforced to me the importance of protecting one’s relationship.

If you share a bed with someone these days, or if you have in the past (or hope to in the future), you might find the book Two in a Bed to be interesting – the book covers interviews with adults about snoring, sleeping, making love, stealing covers, touching feet, feeling safe and choosing sides in ways that one rarely finds elsewhere.

 

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • Chris

    Our bed….safe, happy, warm…..and 85% hers. Even though I am bigger than her…I get that little sliver of the mattress to get comfortable on. :)

    But hey….it’s all good.

  • Chris

    Our bed….safe, happy, warm…..and 85% hers. Even though I am bigger than her…I get that little sliver of the mattress to get comfortable on. :)

    But hey….it’s all good.

  • Debby

    Wow, Chris! Your post warms my heart. I love to think that couples are making safe, happy, and warm beds out there… even when the bed itself – or its covers – are totally monopolized by one of the two people (I’ve been known to be a sheet thief, myself). Good for you two!

  • Debby

    Wow, Chris! Your post warms my heart. I love to think that couples are making safe, happy, and warm beds out there… even when the bed itself – or its covers – are totally monopolized by one of the two people (I’ve been known to be a sheet thief, myself). Good for you two!

  • Shane

    Wow.

    You will be a fantastic mother one day (should you choose to be).

    You are spot on. No matter how strong a person you are or how many things you can take on, nothing is nicer than *knowing* there is someone there to look after you if you need it – even if you don’t.

    The glass of water in the night is a metaphor for so many things we need in life. You can re-arrange situations to fulfill these needs (i.e. ensure you’re on the nightstand side) or they can be provided by someone wonderful.

    Funnily enough, last night I had a nightmare about waking up impossibly tired. It was even scarier when I realized it was a dream and I was asleep. Very weird.

  • Shane

    Wow.

    You will be a fantastic mother one day (should you choose to be).

    You are spot on. No matter how strong a person you are or how many things you can take on, nothing is nicer than *knowing* there is someone there to look after you if you need it – even if you don’t.

    The glass of water in the night is a metaphor for so many things we need in life. You can re-arrange situations to fulfill these needs (i.e. ensure you’re on the nightstand side) or they can be provided by someone wonderful.

    Funnily enough, last night I had a nightmare about waking up impossibly tired. It was even scarier when I realized it was a dream and I was asleep. Very weird.

  • Debby

    I DID wake up tired! And I had a little nightmare about something else which then I meant I couldn’t fall back asleep right away. Ugh. The realities of life… which actually make me appreciate the fact that usually I sleep beautifully through the night. Thanks for your kind words, comments and reflections – you’re right that it’s just knowing someone is there for you that matters, even when you don’t need anything.

  • Debby

    I DID wake up tired! And I had a little nightmare about something else which then I meant I couldn’t fall back asleep right away. Ugh. The realities of life… which actually make me appreciate the fact that usually I sleep beautifully through the night. Thanks for your kind words, comments and reflections – you’re right that it’s just knowing someone is there for you that matters, even when you don’t need anything.