When I was really young, my mom would sit up late watching M*A*S*H with me. Or...the other way around I guess. I wasn't the one actually watching. Point being, I got used to having her with me until I fell asleep. When the M*A*S*H marathons stopped, I still wanted her with me. I would hold onto her arm while lying in bed, and if she thought I was asleep and tried to sneak out of the room, I would squeeze her arm in a death grip to let her know that I was aware of her plot.
Eventually that stopped too, but I still didn't like to go to sleep very much. My mom would come in and read a book with me, say a bedtime prayer, then put in a tape for me to listen to while falling asleep. I had a large variety to choose from. My favorite was probably the personalized one that put my name into every song on the tape. I still remember a few snippets from some of the songs. The first one for example: "Hello, Joanna, how do you do? We're going to sing some songs for you..." And on and on. It was great. I also had the Pocahontas soundtrack, the Lion King soundtrack, some Sunday School songs, etc. All played in the trusty tape player/radio on the windowsill, surrounded by stuffed animals and Beanie Babies.
During this stage of life, I had a double bed. I was picky about where I slept on this bed. With so much room for such a small girl, I had plenty of (meaning three) options: left side, middle, or right side. I'm one of those people who tends to have an active imagination. So when I was little, it was no different. Many nights I slept smack dab in the middle of my bed, and I refused to have any limbs outside of the blankets. Some kids were afraid of monsters or the bogeyman in the closet or under the bed. I was afraid of vampires.
Not Cullen-brand "vegetarian" vampires. Scary vampires. Vampires that would have mocked my Joanna songs tape with their own ad-libbed horror songs. "Hello, Joanna, how do you do? We're going to suck your blood from you!" Yeah. Just like that. Maybe even worse. My solution to the vampires was to never get out of bed until morning. Late night bathroom runs were a no-go. The vampires were also the reason I couldn't have any limbs outside of the blankets, and why I slept in the middle. Apparently I had a special breed of vampire in my room that was completely incapable of standing. The best they could do was lie on the floor under my bed and hope that I would carelessly dangle a leg or arm over the side. Then they could reach up and grab it, and I'd be a goner. Luckily I was too smart for them. I survived childhood and made it to adolescence.
Of course, before I had truly matured, I had to pull off a few more late night shenanigans. One of my favorite candies was, and still is, Kit-Kats. Just something about them makes me happy. So of course, my mom knew not to let me help myself when giving me one, or indeed I would help myself. To the entire bag. The candy limit is a normal thing for most children I'm sure, but it doesn't mean anyone likes it. I certainly didn't. One evening, without my parents' knowledge, I got into the pantry and found my beloved Kit-Kats. Thrilled with my discovery, I proceeded to eat as many of them as I could. I managed about half the bag. Which had been a new one. My parents had no idea what I had done until about 1am when I was still awake, my feet on the headboard, kicking and singing happily. My mom found the Kit-Kat bag later and realized what had happened.
Nowadays, I love sleeping. When it's not something as elusive as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. I'm no longer afraid of vampires under my bed, and I don't get caffeine highs from Kit-Kats. No, these days I'm just a stickler about the light levels. I like it as dark as it can possibly be. This poses a problem at school, because our flimsy dorm curtains don't do squat. Of course, when you have blackout shades in your room at home, it's going to be difficult to find any other room dark enough in comparison.
And even though I'm not afraid of vampires under my bed anymore, I have one other necessity for sleeping. Every door has to be shut. I have three doors in my room, plus a little door on the laundry chute. They all have to be completely closed. That way, if anyone tries to sneak in during the night, I'm more likely to hear them, since they'll have to open the door first. Paranoia? Maybe. But if it helps me sleep, I'll deal with it.