Why did you buy a hot tub? For many people, it’s entertainment. They imagined living in a party house, complete with barbecue, beer and bubbles; splashing around in the water with the little ones and letting them see your playful side. Of having long, relaxing conversations with old friends.
For others, it’s therapy. A chance to soak away those aches and pains and sleep better at night. A chance to reverse the aching back of a long commute, or the sore feet of a job standing up. Jets easing away the stiff neck of a person who spends all day hunched over a computer.
For others, it’s for romance. A chance to spend quality time with their loved ones in the privacy of their backyard. Spending the evening with your partner when neither of you are looking at a screen
For me it was all of the above. I’ve hosted twelve teenage girls in my tub at the same time, with the water spilling over the side and a noise level that could have shattered glass. Our son, who is autistic, has found the hot tub is a valuable tool to calm his brain when he is overwhelmed by stimulation. The combination of heat and water and soothing lights can turn a pre-teen ball of pure anger into a rational human being. And me, with my sore runners hips, soaking away every ache and pain.
Lately, however, it has become something else entirely. Since I started a small business, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about things like running out of product, frustrated customers, or keeping accounts current with my suppliers. It never fails. Four AM rolls around and I have to wake up to use the bathroom, or I’m awakened by the sound of the sprinklers flaring up or my dog barking, and I’m up. Before I can put my head back down, the lists start running through my head. I used to pick up my phone or tablet and read, but I’ve learned that that often makes the stress even worse – especially in an election year.
Now I have a better solution. I pad out to the hot tub with my headphones and my water bottle. I close my eyes, lay back and turn on the jets. I pretend I am at a day spa or at a luxurious resort. The point is that I am not lying in my bed, worrying about going back to sleep, worrying about the day ahead. This is my time, and nobody really needs anything from me. By the time I am back in my room, the list in my head is a lot less harsh, and I’m usually able to get back to sleep easily.
Of course, being married to a person running their own business, sometimes I’m not the only one awake at 4 AM. Sometimes our early mornings spent in the hot tub are the only date nights we get in a week. We’ve planned trips in that tub. We’ve vented about our days. We’ve made huge plans for the future. We’ve looked for cloud animals and counted stars. We’ve laughed and cried and everything in between. Sometimes it’s the only time we get alone together all week.
The way I see it, it’s not insomnia, it’s an opportunity. So who wants to meet me I the hot tub at Four AM?
Amy Bell is a loving mother of two who has been in the industry for over 30 years.