Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rough Night

“Try not to think about this”

    How well did you sleep last night? Feel invigorated, do you?  Or did you have a bad night? A research team at Loyola University recently reported that 93 percent of those polled don’t care to hear about your night’s sleep.

I wish Virginia had read their findings. This morning she tried to tell me all about her bad night. I didn’t want to hear it. I decided to interrupt and tell her the story of my bad night. One-upped her is what I did.

It’s hard to one-up Virginia, but it can be done. On this occasion, I didn’t even have to exaggerate. By the time I was through, she forgot all about her lack of snooze time.

Begs the question, on the nights you can’t sleep, how long do you usually stay in bed fighting it? Minutes? Hours? The whole night?  -- No, not all at once. Sheesh, I actually came up with a relevant topic --- insomnia. I occasionally amaze even me. 

Okay, here’s the deal. For just today I need you to pretend that you’re among the seven percent who care to hear about the bad nights of others. Got it?

All right, now let’s return to my bed at 11:30 last night. -- Yes, you can keep your shoes on. Cute. -- I tossed and turned for three hours. Actually, I was just turning. I don’t remember ever tossing. Kay says I toss, but she makes up stuff. A lot of stuff.

Bottom line, I couldn’t sleep. Around midnight I decided to try the universal cure for insomnia. I relaxed my face and tried to make my mind go blank. I’m sure you realize that thinking of nothing will make you pass out. -- Maxine? Maxine! Well, we lost her.

Unless you have the thought pattern of, say, Maxine, it’s not easy to put everything out of your mind. I can lose worry, dread and anger. Those are three major sleep stealers. Not the worst. But, major. Unfortunately, last night I was in the grip of sleeps worst enemy—stupid stuff.

Right before we hit the sack, Kay and I watched a taped episode of “Body of Proof,” a who-done-it with Dana Delany playing a medical examiner who wears really tight clothes, six-inch heels and has really long hair. Hair that falls all over any dead body she examines. That alone is enough to keep me awake for 40 minutes.

Here’s what happened in the episode we watched: A bartender/oyster-shucker at an airport bar was upset because he had a crush on a cute pharmaceutical rep who started talking about a doctor she was having an affair with. The bartender oyster guy got jealous, so he stole an African Gaboon Viper that had been confiscated by airport security and stuck it in a bag of oysters that he gave to the girl. She ended up sticking her hand in the bag while at a beach house with the doctor she was sleeping with. After that things got silly.

I defy you to extricate something that convoluted from your brain in under two hours. And, I saw the entire episode.

Once I stomped out that ludicrous thought, an equally ludicrous one surfaced.  It was something I read in the “Ask Doctor K” column. In explaining how to treat a nosebleed, Dr. K writes that you should pinch the front of your nose and hold it for five minutes. “And remember,” he says, “To breathe through your mouth.”

One can only imagine how many lawsuits were averted by that warning. – “I’m holding my nose like he said, only something’s not right. I can’t breathe! Help meeeee! Somebody heeel--” Plop. 

That’s the kind of stuff I was trying not to think of.  At 3:30 I went downstairs and started reading on my Ken Follett novel. The real thick one that I was reading at the auto dealership when Troy the service supervisor guy told me I had a squirrel nesting under my dashboard.

Oh, what a night. And, I doubt tonight will be much better. Tonight I’ll probably do some actual tossing. And, I don’t even know what that means.


Watch Brad and Mark’s restaurant review of Montgomery’s Pizza Shack by clicking on pic.


  1. I never wake up refreshed or invigorated! I practice, but I never get any better at it.

    How do you toss with a C-Pap? I've often wondered that. Do you think maybe your cord is getting a kink in it and that's what gives you all those ludicrous thoughts... oxygen deprivation?

  2. I can't toss, but I can turn with a C-Pap. If there is any variation in the air intake it becomes readily apparent. I think the ludicrous thoughts are more mental than physical. I'm a real doodle. Don't get Kay started on that subject.

    Thanks, Cora!

  3. Hello Mr. Hayter,
    I am a former student of yours from Oak Ridge High School. Although I only attended a few of your classes before dropping out of school, I remember you acting out George Washington dusting off bullets from his overcoat vividly. You were a great teacher, one of the only ones who asked a young me "If everything was okay?" I was in fact going thru a rough time, but I stayed out of trouble, did my best to keep up with my studies and I stayed very active in sports. It just seemed like every time my alarm clock rang I was weak and when bedtime came around I couldn't sleep no matter how tired I was. Please don't judge me for dropping out, I took my GED and was in college before I ever would have graduated from high school. I spent 6 years struggling in college only to accumulate 60 credit hrs, did some traveling to pursue a career as a boxer, and managed to work every job imaginable including being a soldier in the US Army. I try my best to keep up with your column but I don't get to read it as much as I would like, so you can imagine my delight when I found an article you wrote among the old newspapers I was laying down before painting something. It was dated December 1st 2011, I think? You wrote about a study conducted by Loyola University that found out that 93% of people don't wish to hear about your nights sleep. It made me smile as your columns usually do. You see I was diagnosed with a mild form of Narcolepsy early last year. The doctor said it was more than likely triggered by stress when I was a teenager and it explains me never being able to regulate my sleep habits and how tired I feel during the day. I would have lived my whole life without ever knowing something was wrong if it wasn't for me joining the army. When you are the only one awake every night when 200 soldiers around you are sleeping you cant help but wonder if something is wrong with you. When I sleep I fall into REM sleep instantly, a 20 minute nap for me can be as refreshing as an 8 hour deep sleep for you. In that way I'm like a superhero. The bad side is it causes me to hallucinate, sleep walk, have irregular sleep hours, and I feel tired all day. I regulate my condition the best I can with scheduling, mid-day naps, exercise, and military discipline. I cant risk the army finding out about my condition so medication is out of the question. It sucks but it sure beats self medicating myself with mass quantities of alcohol to fall asleep like I did in my twenties, before I knew what was wrong with me (side note: I don't remember a lot from my twenties). Being a soldier is what I love, it is my passion, and what I was born to do, trust me I have tried everything else. However, every now and again I wonder how my life may have turned out had I finished high school, I wonder how different things would be for me if fifteen years ago someone would have simply asked me "How did you sleep last night?" Oh well, don't want to think about it too much or I will start to lose sleep over it, and I can't afford that. It's getting late...... Goodnight Mr. Hayter.... Sleep well, and thank you for caring about a younger version of me.