Sleep for America

A few weeks ago we heard from Dr. Cozy Futon of Physicians for Bedrest, promoting the idea that sleep is an important activity and that Americans should do it with pride. Baboons were supportive of the idea, though the readers of this blog are hardly in the mainstream when it comes to prevailing attitudes about unconsciousness.

I think it’s fair to say that America is suspicious of those who get sufficient sleep. We wonder about their work ethic and their taste for fun.

Last month the National Sleep Foundation released the results of a poll indicating that almost two thirds of those surveyed report their sleep needs aren’t being met during the week, and virtually everyone questioned reported involvement with some sort of electronic communications technology in the hour before bedtime.

Coincidence? I’ll text you at midnight with my answer.

But evidence is building of a growing appreciation of the value of sleep, and even that the tide is turning with regard to the cool factor of afternoon naps. Professional basketball players in the NBA are said to be unreachable at 3pm most days for reasons that would make sleep researchers glad.

Marketing wizard and Big Idea Man Spin Williams feels the shift and sees an opportunity. Here’s a tidbit from the most recent newsletter to come out of The Meeting That Never Ends:

Where is the activism for better sleep? They do a great job at The National Sleep Foundation, but we at TMTNE agree that better sleep promotion needs an energetic boost, and should go 24/7.

The problem – people don’t have enough respect for sleep because you rarely see anyone else doing it. And when you do, it’s happening on a park bench, an airport gate or a city bus and it is not attractive.

Our idea – establish a corps of healthy, enthusiastic, great looking people who will go into public places and Sleep For America! They’ll sleep in the malls, at office parties, in factories and at sporting events. The bigger and more important the venue, the better!

How great looking should they be? For obvious reasons, each SFA volunteer, men and women both, should be a genuine knockout! They should also be thoroughly screened to verify that they don’t snore, snort, talk excessively while unconscious, or drool. By snoozing prettily in public, these sleep models will change our thinking about the appeal of not being awake.

They should also not carry any cash.

But just imagine an America where sleep is respected, and getting a sufficient amount of rest is a sign of winning in the game of life. Once Sleep For America gets established, we can organize group sleeping events, culminating in an annual sleep-in called the Stupor Bowl!

How about it? Are YOU willing to Sleep For America?

The public safety downside of Spin’s idea is daunting, though I admire his optimism about changing behavior and his excessive faith in the general public. Role models can make a difference, though their leadership should come naturally from the good things they are already doing, rather than as an assignment.

What would be your most comfortable role model role?

81 thoughts on “Sleep for America”

  1. a gracious good morning to You All
    i’m too tired to think about the question – but i don’t think i’d be a good role model for anything – – hmmmmm.
    OT Lassi gave us a doeling late yesterday afternoon and during the night i was either 1. up helping her get colostrum or 2. in bed worrying about the two. so certainly not a role model for getting enough sleep – although i can predict with 100% certainty that there WILL be a nap this afternoon sometime!
    name for the little: (needs to follow edible milk/yogurt theme)
    Masala Chai “Chai” or Juju-dhau “Juju”
    oops, i drifted off… what was the question again??


    1. Wonderful Barb — can’t wait to see more pictures. Since I have a JuJu in my life and she is a fabulous person, I can wholeheartedly recommend that name, but Chai is cute as well! Don’t forget Kefir!


      1. I like Kefir too, but think that is a boy’s name (I have no idea why).

        I am unduly fond of Paneer, but that might be a boy’s name too?

        Dahi is, I believe, the Hindi name for plain yogurt (and calls well).

        Kind of depends on what she looks like, doesn’t it?

        Well done barb and Lassi! Now get some rest.


      1. Linda iSP(WS)
        goats have estrus cycles – every 18 to 21 days and Alpines only during Fall/winter. so when a doe comes into “heat” (like a dog or cat or mouse or rat) one knows she is fertile on those particular days. for humans, it’s a guessing game about what was the first day of the last period and then guessing that ovulation happened in there somewhere…. but to boot – the doe knows she is fertile and will only receive the buck at that time. if we only could be that smart.
        i guess that might qualify for a “Cliffy” today??
        Juju (we’ve decided – Juju-dhau – is a lazy kid – she’ll eat like mad if i go out and get her up. sheesh! well, tonight i’ll be out there anyway, waiting for Kona, so i might as well get Juju up to eat also. no nap this afternoon yet. probably not gonna happen. but maybe tomorrow.
        then Alba’s Crema, one of last year’s triplets, is due wednesday and i’ll go to her new home to help (or just weep at the enormity of it all🙂


      2. You could sing “Sunrise, Sunset” for Crema.

        I still think the gestational precision of the species is remarkable. I know human women who are sure about the date of their offspring’s conception, but that still doesn’t mean they can pinpoint the due date on the nose.

        Maybe Juju can get some pointers from Beth-Ann’s son on how to combine naps and meals.


  2. When I came home from China with the child, she was fussy and I ended up being awake the whole flight from Hong Kong, all through the immigrations rigamarole in LA, all the way from LA to Salt Lake City (can we say “roundabout cheap ticket”?). We had a 2-hour layover in SLC and w/ the child finally asleep, I also dozed off. Luckily the folks at the gate realized I was supposed to be on the plane and woke me up!

    But really — unless the money were really, really good, who wants to sleep at the mall or at the airport? I prefer my bed or comfy sofa any day!


    1. I saw a woman, apparently alone, sleeping at the gate as we were getting on a plane two weeks ago and became concerned. I wondered if I should wake her up.

      Argument in favor: She wouldn’t have been in that area if she wasn’t waiting for that particular flight and we were all lining up. It’s miserable to be the last one on board if you have carry-ons, and downright terrible to miss your connection.

      Argument against: Someone has to be last on board, the gate attendants would probably notice if she was still sleeping when it came time to close the door, and a woman alone may very well find it disturbing to be awakened by some strange guy who is obviously over-involved in her situation.

      I let her be and she woke up on her own.
      Imagined problem solved!
      What would you do?


      1. Having been the person who would have missed the plane (this was in the old days when just any old body could be in the gate area), I would probably wake the person gently. Or if you didn’t want to seem presumptuous, you could “accidently” knock into them as you passed by.


  3. My role model potential comes in the arena of being prepared to be respond to being unprepared. I am a rolling with the punches artist. The opportunity to respond to the unknown is an uncomfortable thing at first but the other option really stinks. I remember the story one of the motivational speakers told about one of the companies that thrived in the early 1900’s they were a wooden bucket company. Everyone needed a wooden bucket and the abc wooden bucket company was where they went. They had a competitor who was also in the business but always in second place. Long about wwII the world changed and the ability to make buckets and pails out of steel became the norm. The abc wooden bucket company went out of business because there was no call for wooden buckets and that was their business. Their competitor simply switched to metal because they were in the business of giving people who wanted buckets what they wanted. I try to look for the opportunities out there that are worth investing time in. My challenge is in picking the right ones. To choose to do one thing is to choose not to do all the others at that moment. B careful what you choose. And be thankful you have the option.


      1. Agreed, as one who is constantly in search of the “wooden buckets” in life, only to be told, “no one makes them any more.”


      2. MIG They used to make wooden barrels in Bayfield in the shop that now (I think) rents kayaks, the shop looking out over the water to Madeline Island. When I moved into my home, there was one remaining cooperage in Saint Paul. We bought three big barrels from them (and I’m aware of having jumped from buckets to barrels). The two inexpensive ones finally broke down, but I have one truly lovely old barrel.


    1. Who are you and what have you done with tim? Far too many capital letters and punctuation to have been posted by the real tim. Let tim go or you’ll be sorry; you don’t know who you’re messing with!


  4. My son’s adoption flight from Korea was the opposite of VS’. Hi traveled with 2 escorts and 2 other children. The first escort got off the plane and said, “He was such a good boy. He slept the whole way.” The second escort said to me, “He was such a good boy. He ate the whole way.” I attributed the mixed messages to the rigors of the flight.

    After getting my son home, I realized they were both right. My son has an uncanny ability to sleep -he can even eat while asleep. Since he still has the skill of somnolence and is currently under-employed, I happily offer him as a sleep role model. I will be happy to continue my role as human alarm clock.


  5. The best public sleepers are infants, hands down. Thanks to removeable car seats and wearable slings (NOT a Bjorn fan here), they can doze off in comfort and stay that way, while the silly, responsible adults go about their business. They look utterly relaxed and are an inspiration to all of us.

    (tactfully not mentioning that time in St Paul Central Library when it all came to a sudden end with a loud squall and hasty retreat by this mother😉 )


  6. Perhaps Rise and Shine is not an Appropriate Greeting this morning?

    Role model, eh? Sleep would not be it; especially as my aging body gets more and more reluctant to sleep in long segments of time. (However, yesterday I napped twice after our Saturday Work-a-thon, then slept well the two nights around it. Maybe grueling labor is the secret). Also, I’d be awfully embarrassed at the thought of people watching me sleep!

    Approach to food — nope. I overdo the sweets and goodies.
    Money Management — probably not. I do ok but can be undisciplined at times.
    Relationships — I doubt it. My husband can tell you I have my crabby, drive people away days. Not that attractive. And if you try talk conservative politics to me, I might smack you.

    The only one I can think of is pie-making. Our family has developed a tradition of the “Pie-a-thon” for our progeny’s special days like graduations. My sister and I engineer and run these two day projects in which we produce 25-30 pies. The only catch is that the other kids have to help so they learn the art of grandma’s pies, complete with lard pie crust. We also require a willing neighbor with a good baking oven to provide extra baking space. Such neighbors are willing if they get a pie in payment.

    Flavors: apple, apple crumb, blueberry crumb, Bumbleberry (3 berries and rhubarb), strawberry-rhubarb, rhubarb custard, sour cherry, raspberry, peach, lemon meringue (made with limoncella from Italy), sour cream raisin. Now 4 of the 5 grandchildren know how to bake pie. The one who does not is my son, because he is the oldest and we were not doing it when he was a teen. He also is not a cook. So he eats the pie.


    1. Pie-makers NEED pie-eaters.

      Reminds of the frat when I was in college by that name (and I cannot figure out how to do the dratted Greek at this hour)-Iota Eta Pi-better known as the Pie-eaters.


    2. Somebody told me the other day that cupcakes, which were very trendy and “in”, are now out.
      Pies, however, are hot. Even those served cold.
      Could you be the Oprah of pie?


    3. Mmmm….pie. I’ll have one of each. (Or maybe I should bribe you with something to get you to teach me, in place of Son, the secrets to Grandma’s pies – that is if you are willing to share outside the family.)


      1. Hmmm, which Ethel tune would adequately express early rhubarb joy?

        I submit, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and somewhere in the list of flowers towards the end, she could add in “rhubarb”


  7. Plant-lovers (so far Sherrilee, tim, but others welcome):

    I will probably be splitting plants in late April if it warms up quickly. Irises don’t divide until August. Let me know if you want some.


    1. Iris’ are my favorite flower… you can’t have too many of them, although I did have to take them out of my backyard many years ago because my Irish Setter was eating them and poisoning herself! Last year an acquaintance dumped some iris bulbs on me that were in pretty bad shape, but I stuck them in the dirt and watered them all summer anyway, just in case. So we’ll see if anything comes up this spring!


    2. Did I see Coral-bells on your list? If so, count me in!

      Crocuses blooming in my neck of the woods-must put on fall calendar to get those planted, I love them so much, but forget by then.


  8. Whooo! I just woke up from a nap with a great sense of panic. While I was under I was dreaming that I had a fire in my bookshelf and I couldn’t find my fire extinguisher. Scary! Real scary!

    Actually, I once was a role model. At the risk of creating false impressions, I’ll tell the story.

    I have a friend who grew up in a lower middle class family. Bob was an iron worker (meaning those guys who fabricate the skeleton of a building with iron). He was also a hard drinking macho guy who had all the double standards for male and female sexual conduct that you find in people from that background. He was a lousy father because he drank so much and wasn’t around, and then if he was around he was drunk and not much fun.

    Bob had an accident on the job that shattered his back. He fought with the construction firm’s insurance company for six years before getting a settlement that sent him fat monthly checks, tax-free. He called me one day to say, “Grooms, they say nothin’s sure but death and taxes. I just beat taxes and I’m working on death!”

    Bob began guiding fly fishing anglers, which gave him a new perspective on life. He mellowed out and quit drinking.

    One day he told me his daughter had become pregnant by some jerk who ran off. I was terrified that Bob would be harsh with the girl, for the old Bob would have accused her of being an irresponsible slut. Instead, Bob said, “My girl and I have never been so close. My grandson is a great little guy, and I love him to death.”

    “I told my daughter, when this little guy was born, that God had given me a second chance to do fatherhood right. I told her, ‘This time I’m going to do it like Steve and Molly!” I was stunned and humbled. I’ve made no shortage of mistakes with my daughter, but it has come out pretty well. That’s the only time anyone mentioned me as a role model.


      1. It’s true that at least sometimes good role models don’t find out that the examples they are setting are noticed. A farm extension agent told me that he knew that a farmer who was using very advance sustainable farming methods was admired by his neighbors. The farmer thought that his neighbors didn’t like the way he farmed because they never said a thing to him about his farming methods.


  9. My most comfortable role model role would be as a spokesman for the All Things in Moderation Foundation. Second would be as the front man for The Society for the Terminally Above-Average. Third, I’d be an inspiration to members of the Association of Hopelessly Addicted Golfers.



  10. Morning–

    Great story Steve. We just never know what opportunity will turn into being a role model… I think especially with children.

    I have a few things in my past that I’m not proud of that were not intentional but rather were that I didn’t know any better or I was just being stupid and didn’t realize it at the time…
    I pray for forgiveness from those things.

    I would like to be a good role model to my children.


  11. Good morning to all:

    I think I would be a good role model for anyone who doesn’t have enough things to do. I guess most people have more than enough things to do and probably don’t need me as a role model. Still, some people have told me they aren’t sure they would know what to do with the spare time they think they will have when they retire. I’m retired and still have more than enough things fill up my time.

    If sleeping in front of the TV in the evening would provide anyone with a good role model for sleeping, I could do that. I try to avoid those evening naps by the TV because they make it harder for me to sleep at night. Still, if any one wants a role model for sleeping in front of a TV, I could do that and I could provide a video. I kind of doubt there would a big demand for a video of this kind.


      1. Well, I do plan to continue to have lots of things to do. Also, I probably will not be able to completely avoid being a sleeping in front of the TV role model.


    1. Jim I could give you some stiff competition on TV snoozing. The This Old House Hour runs four times each week (if you are canny enough to know about all the re-runs). I managed to doze through four of four last week.


      1. Okay, Steve. I would glad to let you take the lead for the sleeping in front of the TV role model. I could substitute for you whenever you need a sub.


  12. I think I’m an anti-role model or an ‘unrole model.’ No one should emulate what I say, do, or think. It will only bring irriration, frustration, and strange looks from friends and family alike.


  13. Hmm – over time I’d say maybe I’ve been a role model for making an idiot of yourself. Time was I played a village idiot out at Renaissance Festival; in the name of entertainment I played in the dirt, wore my hair in Pippi braids and behaved like a five-year-old (to the delight of the four, five, and six-year-olds that I would play with). In grad school I was good at piping up with half-baked ideas for the sake of discussion (heck, I wasn’t there to look smart, I was there to learn). Now I am making an idiot of myself for the sake of the next generation; I have been doing a music appreciation curriculum in my daughter’s classroom and as a part of that have learned enough violin, ukulele and trombone to make noises (the trombone made the kids laugh), played a drinking straw like a double-reed (it sounds a bit like a cross between a kazoo and a duck call), and used myself and kids like piano keys. I have come to think of these sessions as “Stupid Anna Tricks with Music,” and gosh it’s been fun – and the kids seem to enjoy them (and actually remember some of what we have learned), so I guess I’m doing something right. Never underestimate the power of making an idiot of yourself – for entertainment or education (or both), I guess.


    1. Anna – I was also a part of Bravo when the child was at Burroughs. My favorite was when we did the “Hut on Bird’s Legs” dance to Mussorgsky. Lots of stomping and growling.


      1. Did something like that last year with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from the Peer Gynt suite by Grieg – danced around like a troll with the kindergartners. Last year I also put myself in a pink tutu and cowboy had for “Rodeo” by Aaron Copland (after all, it is a ballet about cowboys…) and clucked along with the cluckoratura version of the Queen of the Night aria from “Magic Flute” (by accident found the aria on iTunes with someone clucking like a chicken instead of singing the lyrics…fun stuff).


    2. Great, Anna. I believe you have a terrific talent that sets a very good example. I think I would have no problem with the idiot part and it would be fun to work in the education and entertainment part. My family already thinks some of the dumb things I do are funny, so I guess I have a good start on combining being an idiot with entertainment.


  14. I am afraid I am a role model of someone who tries to do too much-work, parent, garden, cook, do community things, etc. I often have to remind myself that my family doesn’t have to be the same as I am. I would love to be a role model for all things in moderation.


    1. I agree, regarding moderation, Renee. What I need to moderate is not so much the number thing I do. The number things I think that I should do is what I really need to moderate.


  15. Does the position of sleep role model require a polysomnography report? My report from the sleep clinic is full of phrases like “prolonged sleep latency”, “decreased sleep efficiency”, and “fragmented sleep architecture”. With a sleep resumé like that, I’d have to look like Scarlett Johannson to get hired.

    The arena in which I could be more competitive would be sitting for long periods of time with a book and a lapcat. That I can manage without drooling, and my architecture is usually all in one piece.


    1. “Fragmented Sleep Architecture”? Sounds like you’re starting to build structures in your sleep and then quitting before they’re finished!

      My lapcat doesn’t usually add to the reading experience, as he feels the need to keep rubbing his face on the edge of the book or climbing up between me and the book, both of which make it harder to read!


      1. I like to get large print books from the library – they are easier to read when you’re holding the book in a less-than-ideal position for cat-competition reasons.


      2. Now there we disagree, Linda. I avoid “heavy reading” in the evening because when I fall asleep, the book falls, and Katie is usually curled up nearby. I’d rather drop small books on her than heavy ones.


    2. great, now I can lay awake at night worrying that my “sleep efficiency” isn’t up to snuff and I’ll never get that raise…


    3. Gee, they talk that way? So it isn’t enough we sleep . . . our sleep has to have architecture? It isn’t enough that sleep has a beginning, middle and end? And I’m spooked by the requirement to be “efficient” while sleeping. You should demand a second opinion.


  16. I don’t think I should be looked upon as a role model for anything. If it’s valuable, I could be a role model for solitary, single women who live in socially-obsessed, redneck small towns. It’s more likely that I’d be a good role model as a dog-mom. Any dog lucky enough to live with me has it nice, really nice.


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