Volumes on Sleep

I know you’re tired, but here’s another article about how we should get more sleep.

Prop your eyes open, take a moment, and read it. Or at least start it before your FIRST SLEEP and then finish it after you wake up and before you start your SECOND SLEEP.

Segmented sleep is going to be the latest trend. We used to call it insomnia but now waking up at midnight is natural and right and we will all want to change our schedules so we can do more of it – especially since long-dead medieval people are now telling us that the wakeful interlude between sleeps is the best time for sex. We have generally dismissed medieval wisdom but now that they’re giving us advice for the boudoir, we’re allowing them all kinds of sexy credit. After all, they had to have relations with other smelly medieval people thousands of years before we started putting cocoanut scented body wash in squeeze bottles. That couldn’t have been easy! Must have known a few tricks back then.

There’s lots in the New York Times about sleep problems. Obviously something is keeping the NY Times editors awake – severe sleep deprivation may be the only thing they have in common with Rick Perry. But the research appears to be undeniable that something fundamental happens inside the brain when it is asleep – something consolidating that makes thinking clearer.

Since no one is really listening, now is as good a time as any to re-issue my call for the candidates to take the lead on these insomniac issues by embracing the idea of more sleep research and by actually being brave enough to sleep in public.

Yes, in public.

Let’s put Obama and Romney in a hot middle school gym and subject them to a string of endless, praiseful speeches given by local potentates. If either candidate is truly human, he will nod off. In this way the next President can immediately and unconsciously get a head start on leading the nation towards more healthy sleep patterns. And he could de-mystify the taboo about conking out in a public place.

Yes, the “optics” would be bad, especially for those who think the president should always appear to be in control, super alert and otherworldly.

But I say let it go. No matter who wins, the President of The United States and your weird uncle Ted are made of the same stuff. They need their naps, especially in the afternoon. Some people don’t want to see their leader unconscious, but for the rest of us – a snoozing Prez may be just the image we need to restore our confidence that the head of state will have his head on straight when he wakes up.

When have you benefitted from “sleeping on it”?

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49 thoughts on “Volumes on Sleep”

  1. We all know the Phyllis Diller quote: “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”

    One of the most reliable and comforting truths of life is that things will look better in the morning. When you are struggling with some painful conflict or unsolvable problem you can do no better than to kiss, call a truce and go to bed because what seemed an intractable crisis at night will surely seem less formidable in the light of a new day.

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  2. I do not think I have ever woken with a solution to a real problem and if things looked bad at bedtime they usuall;y look worse in the morning, contrary to everyone else I know. But I do often wake with ideas or visions for my drawing/painting or for my fiction or poetry. In all the technical writing I did, it never happened. But two days a go I awoke with the first couple lines of a modern interpretation of Psalm 23 in rhythm and rhyme, from absolutel;y nowhere.

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    1. Clyde, some problems don’t seem to yield to the genial influence of sunlight and a fresh perspective after a night of sleep. Financial problems often seem intractable to me. But problems with another person–especially someone you love, although things are scratchy at the moment–DO usually seem better the next morning. Or that has been my experience. When two people are thrashing through a problem between them it can grow and assume tragic proportions in the dark when we are tired. Better to trust it to a new morning.

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  3. OT Liam post. Liam and his father, John, were arguing at the table about whether Liam would eat asparagus. After some back and forth, John said, “Well, if I were you, I’d eat the asparagus.” Liam smiled and calmly replied, “Yes, but you are not me.” He’s two, folks. TWO!

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        1. Yes, I think you’re right on this, VS. Ask my sister, mom of the 15-year-old. I can still remember her telling him when he was 2 to USE YOUR WORDS. Boy, she got that in spades.

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    1. Brilliant.

      If I was his parent – assuming this wasn’t something gross like canned asparagus – I would have taken his asparagus and eaten it myself, smacking my lips loudly and saying how delicious it was, and refusing to give any of it back to him.

      That probably wouldn’t have worked either, but at least I would have gotten more asparagus.

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      1. The last time they fought about asparagus (four months ago), John tried reverse psychology. After yelling back and forth several times at each other, John suddenly said, “OK, Liam. You do NOT get to eat any asparagus! I’m going to eat it ALL!” Liam lit up with a big smile. He said, “YOU eat it all!” He jammed his fork deep in asparagus, then held it up to John’s mouth. He was saying that the old reverse psychology thing had lost its effectiveness.

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        1. I thought reverse psychology wouldn’t work with him – but if I was doing this, I would just be happy to get more asparagus. (I like fresh asparagus.) I was just thinking of a way to get more asparagus, not to really try to get Liam to eat what’s on his plate.

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  4. Most any day of the week I will benefit from more sleep. I find, much like a toddler, I get remarkably cranky when I am sleep deprived for too many days in a row and have been known to tell Husband and Daughter that they had best let me take a nap if they want harmony in the house. Both have learned it’s best to say, “okay.”

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  5. i work stuff out in my sleep all the time. i get too distracted in real life to figure it out for a to z. in my sleep i have the ability to go with the flow and weigh all the pros and cons to arrive at the correct conclusion. when i get doinked out from one thing or another i will often lay down for a 10 minute nap. just enough to get all the muscles to release. then im good to go again for the next go round. both brain and body benefit from the rest.

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  6. Good morning. I almost always get up in the middle of the night and I do usually manage to get back to sleep fairly soon. When I am able to stay asleep without getting up in the middle of the night, I notice that I have slept a little better. I don’t worry too much about waking up at night because it doesn’t seem to to be a big problem. My big problem is getting up too early after not going to bed early.

    Very often I do come up with better plans for getting things done right after I wake up. I don’t know if my mind was working on solutions during the night or if I can focus better on what I need to do just after waking up. I just lay in bed for a few minutes and somehow a better plan for getting things done pops into my brain.

    Of course, getting up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep right away is not a good thing. That situation reminds of some advice given out by a farmer during the farm crisis. He said if you are a farmer and you find yourself sitting on the side your bed unable to get back to sleep because you might be close to losing your farm, you need to get some help.

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      1. A good lawyer, or one of the citizens groups that were there to help with various things related to that situation. With help some farmers were able to get better deals or completely avoid losing their farms and would have lost them if they hadn’t looked for help. Also, counseling might be needed to deal with stress.

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  7. From last Tuesday through Sunday, I was sleeping on a cure for whatever awful flu-like invader it was that took up residence in my throat and sinuses. I haven’t been this sick in years, and I haven’t enjoyed the reminder in the least. How fortunate that sleep is recommended for upper-respiratory infections, because that was pretty much all I was good for for 5 days. I will heartily recommend Ricola’s new “dual-action” throat drops for a sore throat; the cherry-vanilla Nyquil isn’t too bad, either. If what I had was indeed the flu, you all are going to want to get your shots, because this stuff is NASTY…and if it wasn’t the flu, I don’t even want to know how much worse that would be!

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      1. Thanks! It’s an uphill slog, but there’s light–or at least the ability to talk and smell again–at the end of the tunnel.

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  8. Unfortunately for me, if I have a problem that would benefit from “sleeping on it” then it keeps me up worrying about it. I have to consciously tell myself that worrying won’t help. When this happens, I have a couple of books that I “replay” in my head. For some reason this helps me relax and fall back asleep.

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    1. I’m like you, VS – sometimes the problems best to sleep on are the ones that keep me awake. I don’t replay books, though – I sit myself down, mentally, on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais. Getting the details remembered of the sounds of the lake lapping on the rocks, the smells of the water, the right blue in the sky is a nice distraction.

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  9. My body without aid will not go into deep sleep. With aid it does most nights for only a few hours. I seldom get more than 5.5 hours a day of any kind of sleep. Yet I still function, still bike ride 20 miles a day (4500 for this year). Up to the age of 40 I could sleep at will, loved to nap, did a lot of segmented sleeping, although I did not need anywhere near 8 hours.
    But this is almost as good as sleep: I love to ride across the open prairie in the early morning. This morning was the best. Bach in my ears, riding smooth county paved roads with little traffic. WINDLESS. Sun casting infinite shadows from the groves of hardwoods that dot the fields and in the farm yards shining under the trees that are trimmed of their bottom branches. Del Monte trucks bringing in the last loads of corn cobs for canning. Wagon loads of corn and soy beans parked by the road ready to brought in. Farmers crawling into the cabs of their combines, waving to me whether they know who I am or not. The muted colors looking a little brighter in the dawn light. If we each get our own heaven, this must be a part of mine.

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      1. i like the imagery. i learned a lot about your view of animals and the way they think in quilted sky. the cows thoughts are something i a less surprised about tan i would ahave been. i encourage you to write some more. i love your voice. more more more please

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        1. Sounds so simple to publish; however to answer that would take 3-4000 words. I meant what I would do before I tried to publish. If I had known you folks were discussing it I might have tried to come up and listen to get more input. Five people here read it and gave me some input, pointed out the glaring errors that at first embarrassed me. I should say two here read it; the other three did not finish it, which is a comment, of course.
          A simple answer to publishing: it is easy to self-publish today, easier and cheaper as an ebook, but not that much as a paperback. But to do it professionally as either, which is the only way it would sell, would cost about $3-4000, not money I have. Most of that money is in hiring experts, such as editor and graphic designer. I do have an outside chance of getting an agent, which is the only way you can get a book published in the bigger houses. But they would not like to take a first book from a 67 year old. But the book is cross-niche. Nobody takes a cross-niche book. My best bet would be to make it fully a YA or middle-grade book, which would be a major rewrite and not the book I would want to do.
          My sister decided not to read it, which is a comment, too. But I warned her that the sister character is about the exact opposite of her.
          In any case I know some big issues to deal with. Is it worth doing dealing with those? Do I have the time? How nuts would my bad keyboarding drive me?
          I did make one and only one change since the version you folks have. I changed the main character’s name.
          For those of you who read the book, BTW, Candy is completely and totally fictional. She literally walked into the book on me. Also, addressing today’s question, the whole structure of the ending of the book came to me at night. I woke up one morning with it all in my head.

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  10. A number of times I’ve fallen asleep with a knotty issue, sort of asking the Universe to enlighten me. Occasionally I have wakened with some kind of idea that shed new light on the problem, gave me something new to try.

    I also know, now, the as soon as I start coming down with something, I can usually stave it off with a nap or an early-to-sleep night. This is when being retired comes in handy.

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  11. Last week after his cardiac arrest my father was put into a deep sleep for 24 hours with Propofol, the medication that killed Michael Jackson. At the same time his body temperature was somehow dropped to 91 degrees. This procedure was done as a way of preventing or limiting any brain damage from the heart stopping. It took another 20 hours to warm him up. I wouldn’t recommend this as a way to catch 40 winks, or as a way to beat the heat.

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      1. He is awake and alert, smiling and happy today. He is starting to take food by mouth, but still has a feding tube in his nose. PT and OT are working with him at bedside. He is still hard to understand because his tongue is so swollen from biting it when he had his cardiac arrest. He had to have 4 zaps from the AED device before he got to the ER last Tuesday. Imagine trying to make yourself understood if you talked without moving your tongue. Yesterday my mom asked the CNA what town she was from, and the young woman said she was from Lennox, SD. My dad asked with surprisingly undertandable articulation “Who is the coach at Lennox now? I used to ref there”. Other times you can’t unerstand a thing he says. They did an MRI last night to see if there was any brain damage from the arrest. Given that he is moving all his limbs equally well and understands everything people say to him, i doubt the scan will find much, and if it does I think it will be small. They haven’t even started to do anything with his heart yet. I was so surprised that neurology care takes precedence if you have a cardiac arrest and survive it. They are most concerned about his brain, not so much his heart at this point.

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  12. OT Identity theft story . . . I know a little more. Wells Fargo has a friendly 800 number that takes care of problems experienced by the bank’s customers. Customers who are alert add a password to that service, so someone needs to know more than just the name and card number to call that 800 number and get service. I didn’t have a password because I didn’t even know that service existed. Somebody in MA has been able to call that 800 number and request replacement cards be shipped to him. He has done this quite a few times. I now have password protection on that service.

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  13. I’ll take sleep however it comes, but if I can get eight hours without waking up, that’s a sort of nighttime nirvana. Having these chilly nights helps. Sleep well, ‘boons.

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