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Will Sleeping Like a Cat Cure My Insomnia?

My cat always sleeps well in boxes and bags. Would I, too? Let's find out!

 |  Jan 7th 2013  |   37 Contributions


Cats can and will snooze most anywhere, and I'm green with envy over their ability to succumb to the sandman. I'm a light sleeper who's cursed with frequent bouts of insomnia, and would love nothing more than to be able to simply stop, drop, and sleep.

I know it's childish, but when I've done everything I can to try and score some shut-eye and glance over to see my cat tranquilly slumbering, head resting sideways on the edge of a plastic storage box, I feel a little bit resentful -- especially if the cat's walking across my face was the reason for my waking in the first place.  

Cats can sleep most anywhere and in any position. And I'm jealous. Maine Coon Cat by Shutterstock

How fantastic would it be to be able to crash on command? Well, I've been thinking about just that, and I decided these cats may be onto something big. Maybe my comfy bed, dark room, and cozy covers are the problem.

As a scientific experiment, I decided to attempt sleep in the various positions and locations I often see my cats sleeping. To ensure the best possible results, I wore cat ears. Here are my results:

1. Under the Christmas tree

Each holiday season, I know where I can usually find my cats: sleeping under the Christmas tree. Even though all three have always lived indoors, I think their instincts tell them that curling up under a tree just feels right. It's also a great place to swat low-hanging decorations. Maybe the natural energy of the outdoors is what I needed.

Maybe Santa will bring me some sleep.

Result: Even batting around an ornament did not lull me into dreamland. I emerged still sleepy and covered in pine needles.

2. In a bag

One of the hallmarks of catnapping is the bag. They love all sorts of bags; whether they actually fit inside them is completely irrelevant. Perhaps a bag is a chamber of some sort of magical sleep enchantment? If that were the case, I wanted to know.

Half in the bag?

First I tried lying in the bag. It's not quite as comfortable as it looks. Then I chose the sitting-in-the-bag method. How do they sleep sitting up like that? I've seen it over and over yet remain perplexed.

Either the bag's too small or my butt's too big.

Result: In either position, bags do absolutely nothing for me. I will not be hitting this sack again anytime soon.

3. On the stairs

I think cats like to sleep in the middle of the hall or stairway for a variety of reasons, but mostly I believe they simply enjoy the possibility of blocking a human's walking path and perhaps getting a chuckle when they trip holding a full laundry basket.

Maybe it was the cat ears, but I felt quite curious about these stairs, so I grabbed a toy, played a while, and then attempted to snooze.

Stair-sleeping or a scene from CSI?

I did a fantastic job of blocking my family members from their stairway travels, but sleep remained elusive. I considered maybe converting to the often-seen loaf position may do the trick.

Tucked and tuckered, but still no sleep

Result: Although the stair landing was pretty roomy and my family was fairly annoyed, neither position worked in my favor. By the way, the cat loaf is not as restful as cats make it appear -- go ahead and try it. You're trying it now, aren't you?

4. Behind the curtains

Felines love concealing themselves behind blinds, shades, and curtains. Not only do they provide top-notch hideaways, they usually offer views of the outdoors and perhaps some choice wildlife viewing.

My cats often steal away behind the curtains, but they aren't always the most skilled at hiding -- there's generally an uncovered tail or foot ratting out their secret spot. Taking a cue from the kitties, I dove behind the curtains.

"Pay no attention to the cat behind the curtain!"

My only accomplishment was confusing Cosmo. In a second attempt at getting cozy behind the curtains, I tried a different window and, hoping for a snooze-inducer, watched some birds flitting around a nearby tree.

Watching birds, not my eyelids

Result: Although birdwatching was entertaining, it did not subdue me into any sort of sleep, and thus the final curtain fell on those attempts.

5. By the heating vent

Minnesota winters are cold, and my cats love nothing more than pressing their paws against a warm heating vent and crashing for a few hours. Warmth is supposed to be a sleep elixir, right? Well, I was game, and so began my descent onto the kitchen floor.

Venting on the subject of insomnia

Result: The heat was lovely, but the floor was uncomfortable, and I became glaringly aware I need to sweep more often. 

5. In a box

Ah, the box ... siesta central for cats! If I couldn't fall asleep in a box, I may as well throw in the towel. Cats adore boxes of all shapes and sizes, and the lack of comfort in their construction doesn't seem to hinder their enthusiasm for snuggling in and catch some z's. The box was a must-try.

Boxes are comfortable: False!

Result: A sore neck and the inability to find the coziness in hard plastic made box-sleeping a giant fail.

So here I am, back at square one. Apparently, cats have uncovered the secret for getting some serious sleep, and they aren't sharing. It's obviously not their positions or locations -- I've tried those and lost on each count. They're just lucky I guess. But after contorting myself into all these awkward poses, one thing is clear: not only am I still sleep-deprived, I need to get to the chiropractor.

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