It seems that my sleep patterns are directly correlated with my hairline. When I had more hair, the better I slept….
Now that I have little use for a comb or gel I don’t sleep much at all. But I’m sleepy more often.
Experts tell us we need eight hours sleep to maintain mental and physical health. I was surprised to hear NBA star LeBron James say he was barely sleeping between games in the Finals yet he was regularly posting ridiculous never-seen-before numbers, including averaging ?? points per game..
Salvador Dali, the surrealist artist, apparently needed only seconds of sleep per day. He would sit with a spoon in his mouth and a pie plate on his lap and wait to fall asleep. He claimed all the sleep he needed was the time is took the spoon to fall to the pie plate and wake him up. That’s nuts, though.
Winston Churchill was famous for taking 20-minute power naps but would make his staff crazy by expecting them to be alert for meetings any time of day or night.
I never used to nap, considering it a waste of daylight. Now my happiness after a good nap is preposterous. If I can manage to sneak away and steal 20 minutes of blissful slumber I wake thinking I’ve cheated the world. One of the reasons I’m so happy is because I’m often asleep before the kids at 9:30 p.m. and never have an evening with my wife or a good movie on Netflix or Apple TV. If I get in a nap I can stay up to 12 or 1, which feels like high living.
Remember when George Castanza built the cot into his desk? And how excited he was? If you can (literally) steal time at work napping, you have it made. Early on, I was cub reporter at a newspaper with the printing facility attached to the editorial offices. I found a place among the massive rolls of newsprint where I could grab a few zees undetected. Nirvana.
I never had another work nap spot like that and I can recall later in my career wandering desperately around the office beseeched by the need for 3 p.m. shut-eye but never finding a safe haven. I may have snored once or twice from a bathroom stall but I don’t recall. It was rumored there was a sofa in the women’s “lounge” and I could barely stand the jealousy.
A few weeks ago one of our kids was having trouble sleeping and was waking us about every 90 minutes on average. After two nights of this, I felt like a cut sleeping under a Band-Aid. If the situation didn’t resolve itself we were going to declare the problem allergies and dose the kid with double shots of Benedryl after dinner.
Catherine is a champion sleeper and can hit snooze several times without apparent effect on her slumber. I am famous for my ability to fall asleep anywhere (A brief list of places I have dropped off: the deck of pitching sailboat in rough seas; the front row of a concert beside a six-foot high speaker; standing up in a food line; during a relatively high-stakes poker game; and okay, yes, a bathroom stall at work) but once my eyes open, regardless of the time, I am usually up for the duration. This isn’t all bad as I get a lot of quality work done between 4 a.m. and the family’s regular 7 a.m. stirring.
One of the issues is that when my eyes open my mind flies into gear like some horror movie doll. I start making impossible task lists and then further sleep is impossible. I find it’s useful to get up and make an actual written task list and then work on striking the items off one-by-one. Sometimes, though, my lists are long and it takes up to a week to put a line through everything.
Every once in a long while I will actually sleep the whole night, eight hours through and will wake feeling incredibly self-satisfied, much like James Bond must feel every day. Of course, waking through the night is directly connected to an ever-enlarging prostate and its relentless pressure on my bladder. It’s like the neighbor kid who rings the doorbell every time I sit down and doesn’t let up until I go answer the door.
To think I used to be cavalier about sleep. I once lost a potential girl friend because I said instead of calling it a night we could “sleep when we’re dead.” She thought this betrayed a reckless demeanor and called it off. Too bad, too, because she was cute and I liked her, though my friend said I dodged a bullet not getting too attached to someone with so little spirit of adventure.
My best sleep in recent memory was drug induced. I was put under for a short spell to fix the problem of too many children. I woke elated to have traveled so completely to oblivion that I didn’t even mind the side effects of my trip. I learned later I was given the same drug taken by celebrities to achieve rest. The obvious moral corruptness of this fact took the luster off my best sleep.
I am thinking more and more of trying to work a regular nap time into my schedule, but I’m not even halfway through middle age, so it seems premature though I think it could be justified if I’m waking at 4 a.m. and working several hours before even the sun is up. It may take a little time before I perfect my argument. It would be nice not to feel exhausted every night at 9:30.
Maybe if I got hair implants.