Sleepy Time

Title” Just Sleep On It. Image: Cartoon guy under covers on a bed reaches his arm up toward the ceiling.

I only sleep 3 or 4 hours a day, but at night I get eight hours. Every day I wake up at 6 A.M., and then I roll over to get a few more hours of sleep. Some people get up bright and early in the morning; others get up bright and early in the afternoon. But, no matter how you slice and dice it, sadly, at some point, we all have to get up. Today would’ve been a great day if I hadn’t gotten out of bed, but nooooo, I had to get out of bed. Did you ever notice that the bad things only happen when you get out of bed? Your car doesn’t start. The roof’s leaking. The cat puked on the carpet. Or your hair just won’t cooperate. In other words, the nightmares usually start after you wake up. None of these things would be a problem if you just stayed in bed.

I’ve notice that whenever I have a choice in life and one of those choices involves sleep… sleep always wins. Should I clean the garage or sleep? Sleep, you old sea dog, you got me again. Why is sleeping so enticing? My theory is that when you lay down, your mind relaxes and begins telling you about all the wonderful things you’re going to accomplish when you eventually arise from your slumber. As you nestle your head in the pillow, your mind races, “Okay, so I’m just gonna’ lay here for twenty minutes and when I get up I’ll start with the dishes, then the laundry, scrub the toilets, and vacuum.” A couple of hours later, you drag yourself out of bed and decide you’re too groggy to do anything and you promise yourself it’ll be easy to tackle the chores tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.

It’s good to get out of the house and do something. If you stay in the house too long a bed can get lonely, and when that happens the bed can start talking to you in hopes of bringing you down. You walk by your room and hear this whisper of a song emanating from your bed, “Psssst, hey buddy. Whatcha’ ya doing?” “Shut up, I’m busy,” you snap back.

“Come on pal, why don’t you relax?” the sneaky bed murmurs. “You look awfully tired.”

“I’m not tired,” you sneer. “Just leave me alone.”

“Sure you’re tired. We’re all tired.” the bed replies in a comforting voice. “Say, why don’t you come over here and take a load off your feet? You’ve been up for almost two hours now. You’re not a machine.”

“No, I can’t,” you angrily retort. “I’ve got stuff to do. So just stop. I know what you’re up to.”

“Come on fella, you need to think about what you gotta’ do,” the sly bed continues. “Everybody thinks best when they’re lying down.”

“Really?” you hesitantly ask.

“Sure, I wouldn’t lie to ya’. I’m your bed,” it responds.

“I’m the only friend you have.”

“You beast! You wretch!” you cry as you breakdown and run over to him, falling into his big foamy arms. “You do love me!”

And at the end of the week you wonder why you didn’t accomplish anything—and you’re still exhausted. Power naps are good for you… except when you’re driving or working with explosives, other than that, I highly recommend them. Besides, someone once said that consciousness is just that annoying time between naps. Some people don’t like to admit they take naps. You call a friend and they answer the phone in that sleepy, deep groggy voice, “Ellllll-o.”

Hey Chet. What’s up? You sleeping?” you ask.

“Oh hey,” he mutters in a confused state. “No, no I was just…, um, mowing the living room carpet.”

“Oh, okay. Well, don’t forget to weed the kitchen,” you reply.

“Oh yeah, yeah,” he stammers. “I’m gonna do that next.”

Naps are nothing to be ashamed of. We grew up with them. Remember naptime in kindergarten? Somehow the school system fazed that out and replaced it with dodge ball. You can’t rest with big, red, round balls coming at your head. I can’t say enough about naps. A good nap can motivate you. For me, it pushes me to sleep. Not only do the naps rejuvenate you, but also give something positive to look forward to in your day. Naptime is like a reward for accomplishing a few tasks. You just paid some bills. Hey, it’s naptime. You mopped the floor. Naptime. You brushed your teeth. Well, you deserve a nap, my friend. As a matter-of-fact, I laid down in bed today for a couple hours so I’d have enough strength to take a nap later on in the day. There’s nothing a siesta can’t cure. Sometimes I can’t decide whether I should take a nap, and then I’m like, oh hell, just sleep on it. Could you imagine if you could get a job napping?

“Listen Bill, we need you in the office by eight tomorrow because we’re going to need you to nap until noon. Can you handle that?”

Bill huffs, “I’ll do my best, but I’m gonna’ need a raise.” Now that’s an occupation I believe a lot of people would clamor for… a professional sleeper.

I consider myself a top-notch sleeper. I never toss or turn or even snore. I don’t want to brag, but I guess you could say I’m good in bed. This may sound crazy, but each evening, before I go to sleep, I kiss myself goodnight. I don’t ever want to wake up in the morning mad at myself.

They say eight hours of sleep are good for you. It gives the body time to heal. My body is a slow healer, so I give it a good twelve hours. Why cut it short? Let the sleep do its optimal work. And I say if you don’t believe in sleep, then you need to wake up. Lately, I haven’t slept well, for like a week. Finally, yesterday, I just collapsed on the bed and was out like a light. Suddenly, the phone rang and woke me up. It was the pharmacy telling me my sleeping pills were ready. I couldn’t get back asleep.

Some people have trouble sleeping. Are you kidding me? Have a glass of milk before bed… just make sure you put vodka in it. Booze to snooze is a helpful motto. You can always count sheep, but make sure you pull the wool over your eyes or you’ll get a “baaaaaad” night’s sleep. (Yup, I really said it.) Sleep is the nectar of the goddess. On a side note, why do people who snore always fall asleep faster than people who don’t? You know you’re getting old when sleep takes priority over everything else in your life. Your best friend asks, “Hey Jeff, I got some free tickets to the baseball game tonight. We’ll grab a nice steak dinner, hit the bar for some drinks and I have four hot strippers coming back to my place to give us a crazy massage. Everything’s on me. You don’t have to pay a cent. It’s the only time I’m ever going to do this in my life.”

“Yeah, I’m kinda in the mood for a little cat nap-ski,” you reply

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without a second thought. How sad. God gives signs that we need to rest; a hazy day, a rainy day, a snowy day, an afternoon. You look out the window and see one cloud in the sky. “Cha-ching!” That’s what I’m looking for. Hold my calls. There’s a bed with my name on it. Thank you, God. We spend at least a third of our life in bed… and it’s still not long enough. It is our own private slumber castle that, for a brief time, shields us from the nasty outside forces that zap our energy. There is no greater protection from the world than a pillow over your head. There is no better way to forget everyday problems than a deep sleep. What I am saying is, when the trials of life overwhelm you, hide under the covers. There is no dishonor for the coward who slumbers. The 18th century poet Thomas Hood put it nicely when he wrote, “O bed! O bed! Delicious bed! That heaven upon earth to the weary head.” Poets don’t lie.

Could you imagine how wonderful life would be if you could just sleep through it? It would be the answer to every problem. Besides, I firmly believe we should go through life with our eyes closed anyway. There’s too much ugliness out there and keeping your eyes closed makes life less traumatic. I’ve actually slept through some of the best things in my life: my fraternity toga party, my graduation, my wedding, and, I must say, I think it’s made me a better person. There are some crazy people out there who believe you can get more accomplished when you’re not sleeping; however, I’d much rather be dreaming of all the things I could do. They may agree with Virginia Woolf who once described sleep as “that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life,” but I’m more in the camp of the opium addicted poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who summed it up best with the lines, “Oh sleep. It’s a gentle thing. Beloved from pole to pole.” You gotta’ love that sleep… and that opium ain’t so bad either. Hopefully, my words have not put thee to sleep.

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by Jeff Charlebois

Cartoon Image of Jeff with a mic next to his book, "Life is a Funny Thing".

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