By June Mathews
Dear Mr. Sandman,
I’m too tired and way too ornery to bother with beating around the bush, so I’ll just come right to the point: Are you mad at me? Have I done something to offend you? If so, please tell me what I can do to make amends.
You haven’t come around much lately, so I’m naturally assuming something has gone awry with our relationship. In my younger days, a train could have rolled through the bedroom, and I would have slept right through it. Thunderstorms during the wee hours produced nary a waking moment, and as far as I was concerned, the neighbors’ dogs could howl at the moon all night long. I never heard them.
Your dreamland was a place I visited frequently – every night, in fact – and more times than not, I awakened refreshed, renewed and ready to face whatever came my way.
Now on a typical day, I wake up as tired as I was when I went to bed. Then I spend the morning in a bleary-eyed stupor and the afternoon catching up on what I failed to accomplish earlier. And all the while, I’m fighting the urge to curl up on the sofa and try to make up for the sleep I missed the night before.
But maybe the problem is me, not you, Mr. Sandman. For one thing, I’ve grown older, and I hear that women of a certain age often don’t sleep as well as they once did. I, apparently, am of that certain age.
I also tend to overcommit, which is a professional hazard for freelancers like me. We always hesitate to turn down work for fear that the next project may be our last, and we often wind up with too much to do in too little time.
Therefore, we’re constantly juggling projects, fighting deadlines and lying awake at night wondering whether or not something has fallen through the cracks. It’s the part of my much-loved job that I’m not so crazy about.
Combine paying work with my near-psychotic inability to spurn requests for volunteer assistance, whether for church or community causes, and getting a full night’s sleep is pretty much out of the question.
But the issue could simply be that my nocturnal habits have evolved into something besides the eight-hour chunk of time today’s experts prescribe. It seems I could be a two-sleeper.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, Mr. Sandman, you being the ultimate sleep expert and all, but for the benefit of anyone reading in, I’ll explain: Researchers have discovered that prior to the 1800s, our ancestors generally slept in two shorter chunks over the course of about 12 hours. They would go to bed early, sleep for four or five hours, awaken during the night then return to bed a few hours later for the second half of the night’s sleep.
The habit gradually faded with the harnessing of electricity. Lighted homes and streets enabled people to make greater use of the evening hours, so they started going to bed later and sleeping for a single span of time.
While I guess a split sleep is better than no sleep, I’d rather stick with the more efficient eight-hour schedule. So please help me out here, Mr. Sandman.
I’m not asking for anything fancy. I mean none of that “bring me a dream” stuff like in the song, especially if it involves more males around the house. I’ve already got a man and three male pets, so I’ve got plenty of “dreams” to clean up after as it is.
But if I don’t get some good, rejuvenating sleep soon, they’ll be cleaning up after themselves. And in that case, things could get really messy around here. Please help.
Hoping to reunite soon and anxiously awaiting your speedy reply,