West Seattle is quite lovely this summery time of year. Lawns that were once green are now brown as a UPS truck—and the grass crunches under your feet as if walking on a blanket of shredded wheat.
The sidewalks are not only hot enough to fry eggs, but excellent for tempura too.
As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”
Hot, humble nights make for lousy sleep. And some of us are having trouble with both. From Ambaum Boulevard to Beach Drive; Des Moines to Allentown; White Center to Normandy Park—people are tossing and turning. The exception is Burien where there is only turning. Sleep researchers are at a loss to explain why this is so.
After all, it’s said we spend one-third of our lives sleeping. Another third is spent working, eating—the remaining third for car keys and remotes.
Nobody finds a way to get in trouble when they’re sleeping. Slumbering robbers don’t threaten banks.
A bald-faced lie told in one’s sleep does little harm to the person—or the bald face.
The worst that can happen while sleeping is facing the fury of a bed partner whose blankets you’ve hogged during the night.
So sleep is a very good thing—and if we all spent more time doing it, the world would be a nicer and quieter place. Except for the snoring.
That’s why not sleeping can be a problem—and it turns out that sleeplessness is epidemic around the nation. It’s even keeping sleep experts up at night.
Beyond the warm temps—and when more serious concerns like sleep apnea are ruled out—experts say it’s mostly our modern lifestyles—early rising, late nights, quadruple lattes’—that are causing all the open eyelids.
Recently, the rumor goes, a West Seattle man slept-walked out of his house, wandered around for several blocks, caught a bus for downtown, got off at City Hall and then sat through a city council meeting—which put him into an even deeper sleep for a full week.
Later, after examining him, a doctor said, “You are a somnambulist.” The man then proceeded to punch the physician in the nose, saying, “You can’t talk about my mother like that.”
Luckily, sleepwalking is relatively rare. Same with sleep ambling,
sauntering, strutting, traipsing and gallivanting.
My flamboyant cousin Enoch often sleep promenades.
Occasional insomnia is not so rare—but fortunately there are lots of tips you can try to fall asleep. The main idea is to think and do things so boring, that you just naturally nod off.
Perhaps reading this column will do the trick.
Otherwise, the time-honored practice of counting sheep works well for some people. It naturally begs the age-old question: What do sheep count?
Personally, I substitute rabbits for sheep. Rabbits jump better—and I prefer angora to wool.
Doctors say you should also make sure you have a good mattress. Such mattresses are available for a very nice price at certain places—if you’re not picky about color.
In fact, some people fall asleep at night by counting their sleep number bed settings.
The ancient Romans ate onions to induce sleep. Ancient Romans often found themselves sleeping alone.
A friend of mine invented a technique that he says always works for him. In alphabetical order, think of people whose first and last names begin with the same letter—for example, Alan Alda, Barbara Bush, Charlie Chaplin and so on. He says it so boring, he usually falls asleep by the time he gets to F.
Unfortunately, rather than boredom, some of us find the practice so interesting that they wind up more awake than ever. And it’s why we consider Woodrow Wilson our favorite president, along with Coolidge, Hoover and Reagan.
By the way—if you ever do try the technique—keep the name of motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar in mind should you ever get that far.
I always get stuck at ‘Q.’ (Perhaps Don Quixote had a brother named Quincy?)
Visualizing something joyful works for some people also. For women, it might be an unlimited gift card at Nordstrom—for men, maybe a Samsung 110 inch TV.
If nothing else seems to work, here’s yet another idea that’s making the rounds: Sleep with your head facing north. This aligns your body with the magnetic fields of the earth. For West Seattle residents it means your head should be pointed toward Ballard—with feet aimed in the general direction of Fife.
People who have tried the “head pointed north” technique don’t report much improvement in sleep. But some do notice increased moss on their heads—which offers some welcome green this time of year.