Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I live in a prewar apartment in a family building. Lately, I have been roused out of a sound sleep in the small hours of the morning by a loud, rhythmic pounding that is coming from the bedroom of the apartment directly above mine.
At first it’s slow and fairly gentle, then gradually builds to a faster, sharper banging and ends in what can only be described as a shudder, around 45 minutes after it begins.
I am loath to approach my neighbors about what is surely a private matter, but I am in desperate need of a good night’s sleep… What should I do?
Studies about the negative effects of sleep deprivation are routinely reported in the news media lately.
In order to spare you any serious ailments arising from your neighbors' noisiness, I suggest a call to the managing agent of your building, which, hopefully, will save you the embarrassment of a full frontal confrontation.
If this approach proves unfulfilling, pull out your best engraved stationery, compose a gracious, obliquely worded note to the effect of “it has come to our attention that perhaps one leg of your bed is shorter than the others; studies have shown that an uneven sleeping surface can lead to premature aging and impotence,” and slip it under the front door.
In the event the problem persists, a call to the local precinct expressing fear of a home invasion upstairs by a hyperactive thief with a wooden leg should solve the problem once and for all. Sweet dreams.
Other advice from Ms. Demeanor: