Not Getting Enough Sleep? This Column Might Help

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 31, 2001 | Go to article overview

Not Getting Enough Sleep? This Column Might Help


Byline: Burt Constable

The National Sleep Foundation said something the other day about how we are a nation of brain-addled zombies who can't concentrate worth beans anymore (Beans ... Man, that reminds me of when I used to work at a newspaper in Lafayette, Ind., that was across the street from a candy store that sold the best Boston baked beans. Oh, what was it named? I stopped there almost every day. It was Mc ... , Mc ... McSomething. Oh, that is going to bug me all day.) all because nobody gets eight hours of sleep these days.

Not true. I get eight hours of sleep. What's today? Saturday? OK. With my two hours of sleep last night, I'm already up to 11 hours of sleep so far this week, and it's only ... what's today?

The sleep foundation says married people without kids get 7.2 hours of sleep each night. Parents sleep only 6.7 hours a night.

"Ha! I wish," says my brain-addled zombie of a wife as we discuss this story at 12:45 a.m. while we sit at the kitchen table and pay some bills. "Drug addicts hopped up on cocaine get more sleep than most parents, and spend less money on their obsession to boot."

True. But it's certainly not an issue we lose sleep over. In fact, our kids even chip in to help me with research for this column. I bring home a copy of the Sleepless in America report (available at www.sleepfoundation.org), and my kids go right to work.

- 3:43 a.m. -One son conducts a bed-wetting experiment involving mattress cover, sheets, comforter cover and comforter, pillow, pajamas (bottoms and top) and favorite blankie to see if my wife and I really can change a bed in our sleep.

- 4:31 a.m. -Another son does a nightmare study in which the dreamer (child) screams bloody murder and then instantly falls back to sleep while the woken (parents) bolt up in bed and inexplicably check the clock every three minutes until slumber finally returns at 5:28 a.m.

- 5:40 a.m. -Feeling left out of the sleep-deprivation research, the son who slept through those other two experiments pops out of bed and runs downstairs, triggering our motion-detector burglar alarm that has never caught a burglar but does let us know if we leave a helium-filled party balloon floating in the living room between the hours of middle-of-the-night and way-too-early-in-the- morning. …

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