What’s the sitch with edge tactics?
This is one of those sitches with a title question that doesn’t fully clarify the sitch. “Edge tactics,” could potentially be applied to a variety of situations, because, as I’m sure you’re aware, a lot of things have edges.
I’ll provide a few general edge tactics to clarify. If a surface you are standing on is significantly elevated compared to the surface just distal to the edge in question, be careful. Perhaps take a quick peek over said edge, but only once you make sure your footing is stable. This edge could be part of a building or a natural rocky outcropping or some sort of a crane. Either way, the cautious, stable-footing tactic has served me well in the past.
A similar, general edge tactic relates to placing an object close to an edge. For the sake of this example, pretend it is an object you don’t want to topple over the edge, say, a glass of water near the edge of a desk. This is just a thought experiment, so whether it applies to the real world is largely irrelevant. In this case, a good tactic is to place more than one half of the base of the object (the glass) on the solid surface of the edge, with the rest of the base jutting out as it may, over the empty space abutting the other face of the edge. Using this general tactic, the majority of the force vector created by gravity on the glass will be directed toward the solid desk, which will prevent any unwanted acceleration over the edge. Again, this is just a strange example meant to illustrate the general concept.
Furthermore, if you would like to, “be on edge,” in the colloquial sense, I recommend staying up all night watching cable news, drinking a pot of coffee, and then listening to System of a Down while driving to the Mall of America as fast as you can.
When using a knife with the intention of slicing something, be it vegetables, the shipping tape holding a package closed, or perhaps a cushion (when the situation calls for letting fluff out all over a room), using the sharp edge makes the task at hand much easier, as compared to sawing with the dull edge.
But none of the above tactics are the ones I had hoped to illustrate after choosing this sitch-stem from the magical sitch sorting hat. Specifically, I wanted to deal with the edge tactics that can be employed while trying to sleep in bed with another person.And I suppose that sentence warrants yet another disruptive clarification. I am not talking about edge tactics that relate to anything sexual in nature. This is a family-friendly website.
When sharing a bed with another, it can be more difficult to get restful sleep, due to the increased movement and heat that comes with doubling the amount of human in a fixed area. Physically using the edge, as well as having it there for orientation, can allow each human to position themselves for maximal comfort.
Firstly, a very basic edge tactic is sticking one limb over the closest mattress edge, with the aim to vent some heat or allow for natural joint position. Blankets, comforters, and sheets are all manufactured to fully cover a mattress of corresponding dimensions. With this in mind, if one’s sleeping body is fully on the mattress, it will usually be fully insulated by the rectangled textile of choice. When sleeping on your back, hinging a lower leg over an edge at the knee can be comfortable. When it comes to stomach-sleeping, I find leaving one arm to dangle over the edge, bent at the elbow, a reasonable option.
An oft used, but rarely described variant is for the feet of stomach-sleepers; human feet were engineered to align perpendicular to the leg, for use in the standing position. When lying flat on one’s stomach, this becomes a problem, necessitating external hip rotation and knee flexion, or often a full turn to side-sleeping. I’ve found, if you shimmy toward the bottom edge of the mattress just far enough to allow the feet to hang over, tension can be reduced on all joints below the waist.
These tactics can be used when sleeping alone in bed as well, but are often more valuable when there is another person nearby taking up bed space, radiating heat, and responding to your tossing/turning.
Edges are also extremely important to orientation, particularly in pitch-black rooms and semi-somnolent mental states. For example, polls show side-sleeping is an increasingly common choice for couples in America in 2016. With the obesity epidemic peaking, stomachs are more difficult to sleep on than ever. Furthermore, traditional back-sleeping is more likely to precipitate episodes of snoring, putting additional strain on already tenuous, Tinder-jostled relationships.
With this in mind, it is important to remember that expiration is unidirectional, and human breath is hot, moist, and more often than not, pungent. When side-sleeping couples don’t use mattress edges to properly orient their sleeping, nocturnal disturbances can, and will, occur. Each hot breath becomes the exhaust fumes from a decades-old diesel truck, clouding the airbetween resting heads before being inhaled again, concentrations of damp, super-heated carbon dioxide gradually increasing with each cycle.
There are four basic arrangements for two individuals who are sleeping on their sides: facing inward at each other, facing outward toward the edges, both facing toward one edge, or both facing toward the other edge. As you may have noticed, the decision for each individual is a binary between facing an edge or facing their sleeping partner. In these situations, THE EDGE IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE PARTNER. Though this may sound controversial, it is not meant to diminish the role of the other person, but rather to emphasize the influence of the edge.
When two humans fall asleep facing each other, perhaps following a cuddly “conversation,” just prior to dozing off, it can be cozy, it is often comforting, but it is RARELY sustainable. At least one will inevitably have to reorient in the middle of the night, interrupting their sleep cycle right when it was getting good. I’m not suggesting putting a halt to those pre-sleep “conversations.” What I am saying is keeping the edge in mind before trying to sleep can pay dividends in the morning. When you are having difficulty getting fully immersed in a good slumber, turn 90 degrees toward the nearest edge. It is as simple as that. Like a well-cooked rotisserie chicken, rotation is the key to keeping temperature and moisture evenly distributed.
One last point, for those still reading. Like other privileged folks raised with an abundance of pillows in the home, I’m someone who has gotten into the habit of putting one on my head when sleeping. This works well for side-sleeping or stomach-sleeping. Unfortunately, I’d estimate I spend 54-66% of sleeping-time on my back. In order for these two habits to coexist, I need to delicately employ one final edge tactic, which is to align the bottom edge of the face pillow with the bridge of my nose. This allows for minimal suffocation, and for my exhalations to be vented upward, away from me and my partner’s contented bodies.