2009-01-14 / Editorial & Columns

Behind the Badge

Sleep - Too much or too little?
By Larry G. Spence

It's very seldom that I have any trouble getting to sleep. I do it in church, at work, and of course at the end of the day. Usually I stay up until about 11:30 watching TV. I like to hear the monologues of Jay Leno and David Letterman before calling it a day. Then I'm usually up around 5 a.m. to start another day, going through my regular routine of fixing coffee, reading my daily devotions, and then the shave and shower ritual, and I'm usually out the door by 7:30 a.m. Sometimes after a week or so of that routine, my body screams at me to get more rest, but like most of you, I don't pay enough attention to what my body is telling me.

Sleeplessness, I've been told Is a normal aging process we all have to go through as we getting older. By the age of 45 most people awaken about three times during the night As people grow older, we dream less and awaken without finishing the dream. Studies show that good sleepers fall asleep within 7 minutes while poor sleepers take at least 15 minutes to doze off. Personally, I barely get my prayers finished, and I'm out. Sometimes I don't get them finished, and then that makes for a bad day after awakening.

Experts tell us that poor sleepers tend to be more anxious, introverted, and neurotic than good sleepers. Those of you over 60 tend to sleep longer than persons of any age between 20 and 60. Another interesting fact is that thin people sleep longer than fat ones. That explains a lot as to why I only get five hours sleep a night.

Sleep is a complex process, a process of aging as we stated earlier. So it is no wonder that the family doctor usually asks how we are sleeping. He or she is just not making idle conversation, sleep is essential to good health. I don't know what brought all this to mind this week except that I've been sleeping better lately, and I'm sure it has to do with less stress. Let me leave you with a story about three elderly men talking about their sleep and their morning bathroom rituals and problems they are having. The first one says to the others, "I sleep well but in the morning I awaken at 7 a.m. and I can't do my #1 for about 15 minutes." The second guy says to the other two, "I awaken about 7:30 a.m. after a good nights sleep but I can't do my #2 until about 7:45." They both turn to the third guy which is the oldest and ask, "What about you?" Well, I do the #1 and I do the #2 about 7:35 without any problem." The other two looked at each other and then back at the third guy and asked, "So what's the problem then?" "The problem, he replied sheepishly, is that I don't wake up until 8:00 a.m.

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