Tag Archives: Sleep

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: I Already Need a Nap

O Lord, why are we Americans so suspicious of siestas? You recall that even as a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes to conceal my catching a few winks. Why did I have to hide as if conducting lunchtime drug deals? You’ve never considered napping a sin. OMG, You even advocated a whole day of rest! Amen, Father.

And power to the nappers!

Spring Break R&R?

Image by Monika from Pixabay.

You’ve just returned from spring break. True respite, right?

For some college students, the answer’s a resounding “Yes!” Unlimited sleep where no drum fests are held at 2 a.m. Mom’s cooking. Free laundry.

Pure bliss.

For one day.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.

Until Dad gets possessive about car keys. Until Mom wants help cleaning the garage. Until both demand, “Where were you last night?”

However, most students who escape to Daytona remember zero. They return with seasick stomachs and third-degree sunburns to face 23 books they should have read during spring break.

Spring break doesn’t live up to some employees’ expectations, either. If a worker forgets to schedule days off, he’d better be prepared to skip lunch several days. All the other employees remembered.

No mother believes spring break will act like spring break, with sunny days in which kids power-wash the house. Instead, she accurately anticipates weather-induced cabin fever, with nonstop video games and violent sibling behavior that surpasses them all.

Image by Clkr-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

If parents head for Florida, they, like college kids, will remember spring break in a blur — but for different reasons. A 16-hour car trip resembles a rolling animal cage, especially if Mom and Dad have condemned teens to family togetherness, a fate worse than death.

Hotel rooms resemble animal cages sans wheels. Children don’t sleep, except with Mom and Dad, their sharp, little knees implanted in parental backs. Spring break trips comprise the most expensive birth control method known to humankind.

Also, if we read resort ads’ tiny print, we discover disclaimers about prices. About “luxury suites” with roaches the size of snapping turtles.

Staying with Aunt Maudie and Uncle Snerd may reduce costs, but added therapy fees may continue for years (for hosts, as well). Do spring breaks not only break the bank, but break us all?

Image by D. Apolinarski from Pixabay.

Rumors persist, though, that some spring breaks meet expectations, with endless sunshine, three-person lines at Disney World, and hang gliding without encountering a single power line. Tanned bodies resemble those of the Kardashian clan.

Image by Nowaja from Pixabay.

Because we’ve seen it on TV. And on the Internet …

Give me a break.*

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your plan for spring break?

*This blog was written by a grouch who has stuck it out in Indiana all winter. If snow shows up in April, she will ditch cynicism and go on spring break anyway.

Classic Post: Rest Revolution

This post first appeared on April 18, 2018.

This radical confession could create cultural schisms the size of the Grand Canyon. But I believe in honesty when dealing with my readers, so here goes:

I take naps.

Oh, I know some confess to sneaky snoozes on weekends. I mean daily naps during the week, when employees buzz around workloads like frantic worker bees.

Image by Martin Tamjr from Pixabay.

“No wonder you take naps. You’re a writer,” critics point out. “What else could we expect of a degenerate who talks to imaginary people and spends half her waking hours in jammies?”

I resemble that remark. But in defense of jammies, real waistbands stifle creativity.

Back to the nap issue. Is it so difficult to believe a short rest empowers workers? In a word, yes. Anti-nap propaganda has programmed us for decades. As a college student, I never considered naps an option, not even when my then-boyfriend, now-husband, claimed I’d turned 200 pages of my zoology book, my eyes closed.

As a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes so no one knew I was sleeping. You would have thought I was conducting drug deals. Naps, even during breaks, make supervisors nervous. Just because my boss once tripped over my prostrate form … He recovered nicely after cardio rehab.

Like others, I have fought illegal slumber with coffees, colas and energy drinks that could substitute for rocket fuel. Some misguided souls believe noontime exercise generates energy. Since when does energy output increase energy input? They obviously have never chased after two-year-olds.

Efficient work policies include power naps, which promote employee health and safety. Alert employees are less likely to fall out of their chairs, catch their noses in machinery or flush themselves. They provide faster, friendlier service and make fewer mistakes. Studies have shown that teachers permitted a brief daily collapse are less likely to leave the country after the second day of school. Only three percent of air flight controllers who nap direct pilots to park behind McDonald’s.

Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay.

Still, old attitudes are difficult to change. Decades passed before my breakthrough. One day, having dozed off, I awoke at my laptop to discover my fingers had purchased 307 Pampered Chef ice cream dippers.

I ejected from the computer, set my cell phone alarm and crashed.

A 45-minute, preventative nap could have saved my relatives the prospect of ice cream dipper gifts every Christmas until 2037.

“But I can’t fall asleep in 45 minutes!” some protest. Soothing music, accompanied by fake waterfalls and synthesized bird twitters, often proves effective. Other daytime insomniacs use power-of-suggestion downloads. I, however, find nothing works like the Lacrosse Channel or Bonanza reruns.

Speaking of Bonanza, the opening music has begun. Grab your blanky. Take a stand — er, sofa. Snuggle down, close your eyes and join the power nap revolution that … will change the … world … zzzzzzzzz.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a rest revolutionary?

Who Wore Out Whom?

Our grandson plays with light and various shapes at the Muncie Children’s Museum.

When I last experienced grandchild deprivation, I suffered symptoms involving credit cards and Easter outfits for everyone through 2029. So, Grandpa cheered our scheduled grandkid time.

The six- and eight-year-olds slept in, and so did we. Whatever Mom fed them, I wished I’d had it when she was a kid.

Grandpa played Monopoly with the older boy, a self-confessed math genius. I listened to piano “concerts” by Little Brother, a grandma-confessed musical genius. Grandpa, who mortgaged all his deeds, defeated the fiscally responsible eight-year-old.

Later, Hubby asked me, “Am I a bad grandpa for beating my grandson?”

Hanging out in the kid-size ant colony at the Muncie Children’s Museum.

“Absolutely.” I crossed my arms. “Plus, think of the lesson you taught: go into debt, and you’ll win.”

“Just teaching him the American way.”

Before Grandpa taught more patriotic principles, I suggested we visit a nearby children’s museum.

Our grandsons climbed and slithered through the museum’s kid-size “ant maze.”

“This will wear them out,” I said smugly.

Grandpa high-fived me. We decided to put the museum in our will.

The elder grandson chose me, an obvious pushover, to supervise his further exploration. The younger tugged Hubby to a huge semi.

Hubby and grandson check out The Big Rig and more at the Muncie Children’s Museum.

He perched behind the steering wheel. “When I grow up, I wanta drive a truck like this!”

I fled the vision of him loose on the interstate. The eight-year-old and I played games with giant checkers. (Grandma proved the loser he’d hoped for.) We banged on pipes, triangles, and tambourines at the music-making exhibit. I offered to dance to his newest composition, but he nixed that idea.

The Ant Wall in the Muncie Children’s Museum allows children to experience the maze of an ant colony.

Instead, I sat while he investigated the miniature grocery store. I nearly dozed off — until I saw him wiggling a fake salami through the window of a play schoolhouse where an earnest little teacher was holding class.

I proposed, “Want to return to the ant maze?”

“Yeah!” He zipped to the top. “Come in, Grandma!”

“I’d get stuck. The Jaws of Life would have to cut me out.”

“Awesome!”

Thankfully, his brother interrupted, my panting hubby behind him. “Whoever coined the word ‘babysit’?” he complained.

In the maze, the hunter and hunted clashed about who should be dead.

I diverted their attention to a cage containing an enormous, fake reptile: “Doesn’t he look real?”

Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay.

The boys pressed noses against the glass.

The “fake” snake raised its head.

I fainted dead away.

I awoke to “Cool, Grandma. Do it again!”

Hubby hauled me up. “Grandpa’s back can’t take it.”

Riding home, our grandsons’ subdued state confirmed that baths, a storybook and prayer would usher them to Dreamland. Instead, they exploded from the car like twin firecrackers.

Would we survive the night? Or the next day, when the next batch of grandkids arrived?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who wears out whom at your house?

I Can’t Sleep Without ________

Photo by Mehmet Goren from FreeImages.

You’ve filled in the blank, haven’t you?

Whether newborn or nonagenarian, we humans believe certain conditions must be met before we can journey to Slumberland.

My grandchildren all have possessed highly personalized bedtime needs. Several have required “loveys” before “Waaaaaaa!” has turned to z-z-z, including stuffed animals, a slip and an orange.

Photo by Raija Ylonen from FreeImages.

Positioning also is important. I read of a toddler who rejected his crib. Instead, he slept atop his nightstand. I get that. My daughter often napped under my rocking chair.

Sometimes routine matters most. One grandson demanded we sing “ABC Song,” “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jingle Bells” every night. In that order. Otherwise, we would cause a monumental tear in his universe.

When little devils finally settle into angel mode, eyes closed and breathing peacefully, we’re ashamed we considered a bedtime exorcism.

Most adults, though, try to exorcise their own insomnia demons.

Of course, we’ve outgrown silly childhood rituals. …

Really?

If that were true, we wouldn’t check locks three times before retiring. Fiddle with the thermostat. Line up slippers.

If that were true, the bed-linen industry wouldn’t be making millions. We each require 26 pillows, placed just so. Also, our aptly named comforters.

Image by JityPix from Pixabay.

Some, to their spouses’ dismay, must be swaddled or, more accurately, burrito-ed. Others substitute weighted blankets, gravity blankets and sensory compression blankets to achieve that huggy feeling.

Those names scare my sleep away. A gravity blanket sends my novel-writing mind zooming off on spaceships. A sensory compression bedsheet sounds like I’m sleeping in a hamburger press. As for a weighted blanket — I often throw off covers during the night. Smacking Hubby with a thirty-pound blanket might not help him sleep.

Just sayin’.

Some adults need visual/auditory stimulation on or off. I prefer that devices sleep elsewhere so buzzes and squeaks don’t keep me awake.

Superior sleeping habits don’t guarantee a peaceful night. Unlike babies, who rarely lie awake worrying about world peace, we adults embrace sleep-bashing topics the second our heads hit the pillows. I’ve counted sheep, only to worry about their welfare. Warm baths, listening to sea sounds, sleeping with an orange — nothing worked.

Even my prayers morphed into worries.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

One night, I played an alphabet game learned in Bible school. I recalled God’s names and/or attributes that started with A, such as “Almighty” and “amazing.” Then, B: “blessed” and “beautiful.” Then C, and so on.

Before reaching G, I fell sound asleep.

Since then, I’ve prayed alphabet prayers many times.

Occasionally, my insomnia stretches from A to Z. Eventually, though, I doze off, knowing Someone bigger and better can manage the world.

And oranges stay in the fridge, where they belong.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you remedy insomnia?

Waking Up

If you’re reading this, you woke up today.

If you’re reading this, but didn’t wake up, please contact me immediately. I’d like to ghostwrite your best seller.

Waking up has changed since our childhood years. Do you remember when you and Teddy jumped on your parents’ bed to help them celebrate morning?

Later, Mom wreaked vengeance by dragging us out of bed for school, scrubbing our ears and necks before we escaped her clutches.

People have been awakening us ever since.

At college, I assumed I would decree my wake-up time. My dorm, however, housed 500 girls, all armed with high-voltage stereos and supersonic hairdryers. Exercise classes met outside my room — at 1 a.m.

Those years prepared me for apartment life.

“Someday, I’ll own my own house,” I said. “No more party animals. No more percussion teachers upstairs.”

My husband and I did buy a house — and filled it with babies, aka, screaming meanies allergic to sleep. Especially ours.

Not content with that, Hubby delivered babies — and took care of sick people. I frequently awoke to discussions of blood sugar readings and stool reports. And advice on how to kick insomnia.

Occasionally, I slept through his wee-hour departures. His returns? Not so much. Most sleepers might awaken if a shadowy guy joined them in bed at 2 a.m. — particularly if his body temperature equaled an arctic seal’s. If he was tall, thin, and bearded, though, I turned over and dozed off. If short, fat, and/or clean-shaven — Houston, we had a problem.

While Hubby cannot claim my levels of martyrdom, he occasionally lets me awaken him for less compelling reasons, e.g., suspicious sounds in the laundry room at 4:30 a.m. I demanded he defend our dirty socks with his life.

One night, in a hotel room, I awoke, convinced Communists were monitoring us through the sprinkling system.

He also insists my snoring awakens him, but he’s upping my stats so his don’t look bad.

My brother has long been the family mischief maker.

However, neither of us will ever achieve my brother’s dastardly wake-up call. During a solo visit, he had buttered me up with a wonderful meal, fascinating tales of his Middle Eastern service, and (!) chocolates. Such behavior should have roused deepest suspicions. Instead, I thought he finally had grown up.

That night, I savored dreamless sleep — until the enormous clock in my room lit up like a carnival ride. An Arab voice belted out a call to prayer that probably awakened Atlanta.

I thought Judgment Day had arrived.

Eventually, I realized it had not yet come for me. But Judgment Day came for him.

Little Brother, if you’re reading this, my offer to ghostwrite your best seller still stands.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What is your least favorite way to wake up?

Rest Revolution

This radical confession could create cultural schisms the size of the Grand Canyon. But I believe in honesty when dealing with my readers, so here goes:

I take naps.        

Oh, I know some confess to sneaky snoozes on weekends. I mean daily naps during the week, when employees buzz around workloads like frantic worker bees.

“No wonder you take naps. You’re a writer,” critics point out. “What else could we expect of a degenerate who talks to imaginary people and spends half her waking hours in jammies?”

I resemble that remark. But in defense of jammies, real waistbands stifle creativity.

Back to the nap issue. Is it so difficult to believe a short rest empowers workers? In a word, yes. Anti-nap propaganda has programmed us for decades. As a college student, I never considered naps an option, not even when my then-boyfriend, now-husband, claimed I’d turned 200 pages of my zoology book, my eyes closed.

As a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes so no one knew I was sleeping. You would have thought I was conducting drug deals. Naps, even during breaks, make supervisors nervous. Just because my boss once tripped over my prostrate form … He recovered nicely after cardio rehab.

Like others, I have fought illegal slumber with coffees, colas and energy drinks that could substitute for rocket fuel. Some misguided souls believe noontime exercise generates energy. Since when does energy output increase energy input? They obviously have never chased after two-year-olds.

Efficient work policies include power naps, which promote employee health and safety. Alert employees are less likely to fall out of their chairs, catch their noses in machinery or flush themselves. They provide faster, friendlier service and make fewer mistakes. Studies have shown that teachers permitted a brief daily collapse are less likely to leave the country after the second day of school. Only three percent of air flight controllers who nap direct pilots to park behind McDonald’s.

Still, old attitudes are difficult to change. Decades passed before my breakthrough. One day, having dozed off, I awoke at my laptop to discover my fingers had purchased 307 Pampered Chef ice cream dippers.

I ejected from the computer, set my cell phone alarm and crashed.

A 45-minute, preventative nap could have saved my relatives the prospect of ice cream dipper gifts every Christmas until 2037.

“But I can’t fall asleep in 45 minutes!” some protest. Soothing music, accompanied by fake waterfalls and synthesized bird twitters, often prove effective. Other daytime insomniacs use power-of-suggestion downloads. I, however, find nothing works like the Lacrosse Channel or Bonanza reruns.

Speaking of Bonanza, the opening music has begun. Grab your blanky. Take a stand — er, sofa. Snuggle down, close your eyes and join the power nap revolution that … will change the … world … zzzzzzzzz.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a rest revolutionary?

Morning Vs. Night People

Two kinds of people coexist in this world: morning people and night people. Night people don’t officially breathe until noon. Morning people stop breathing at 10:00 p.m. Or earlier.

During peak energy hours, both can conquer their respective worlds. During lethargy hours, they also conquer those worlds, but they require coffee. Oxygen. And a spouse/parent/boss wielding a high-voltage cattle prod.

All toddlers and preschoolers are morning people. Their shiny inner weaponry systems launch them from bed at the crack of dawn. They will begin search and destroy missions unless intercepted with a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.®

 Fortunately, they retire early, which explains why the human race has survived.

The lone exception: if a parent must reach a destination before 8:00 a.m. Then little ones portend the future when, as comatose teenaged princesses, they won’t awaken if 10 Prince Charmings appear; or, as hairy 17-year-olds, they must be spatulaed from their beds.

I, an oddball teen, retained my morning person habits. As a college student, however, I had to change my ways.

Even my boyfriend, Steve, who shared my staunch early-to-bed-early-to-rise background, joyously embraced night-person status. I attempted staying awake till midnight. According to Steve, I learned new study skills, including turning pages for hours while dead asleep. When our weekend Bible study group partied, I never lasted through a game of Monopoly. Dragged to a quiet corner, I snoozed until awakened for breakfast.

Regardless, I, a dedicated music student, hit the practice rooms by 8 a.m. Afterward, I phoned my boyfriend.

Groggily, he asked, “Did I miss breakfast?”

“You missed lunch.”

“Oh.” Then, “You want to get something to eat?”

I’d already eaten twice. But if the early bird got the worm, pecan pie proved a satisfactory substitute.

After marriage, a studio apartment, medical school/practice and new babies helped us cope with our incompatibility. We no longer categorized ourselves as morning or night people. We mostly were exhausted.

Fast forward a few decades. Steve has slipped into old patterns, staying up to finish compelling books or ball games. He occasionally sleeps in, wrapped in blankets like a giant burrito. I confess to adopting his stay-in-bed vice during dark, arctic months.

But soon, dew-fresh spring mornings will arrive. I’ll run outside early to welcome delicious fragrances wafting from earth, trees and flowers. Most birds are morning people, too, singing their best concerts at dawn. On days like that, how could I be anything else?

Which do you do better, mornings or nights?