Monthly Archives: July 2022

Sleep facts…for anyone awake

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Jackie Wells-Fauth

I read an hilarious article the other day on little-known facts about sleep. The article interested me because I hadn’t written it and I am the utmost authority on sleep, I’m certain of that! However, I selected a few of the “facts” that were given in the article to which I have added a few thoughts of my own.

First, they (no I don’t know what organization put this article out) gave us two medical terms for sleep issues. The first term was dysania. Now, apparently if you have dysania, that is why you do not want to get out of bed in the morning. FINALLY! There is a medical term for this! I can call work and say, “Yeah, I need to take a sick day because my dysania is acting up.” All right, all right, the article said this was intended to describe someone who could not get out of bed for days, but give me enough chocolate and books and I can make that work!

Now, the other term was somniphobia. This was described as the fear of sleep. I am relieved to tell you that I do not have somniphobia. Sleep is my friend any time of the day…except bedtime. Oh wait, maybe that is what they are talking about? I need to do more research on this one.

Then, we moved on to statements on sleep, and as I go through all of these, I ask you to remember that you should not believe everything you read on the Internet, but I was tired, so I didn’t do any fact checking.

First, I learned that the body emits (for want of a better term) an anti-diuretic hormone while you sleep that keeps you from peeing in your sleep. However, this little hormone is not working that well for me as it shuts down at least twice a night, taps me on the shoulder and says, “All done working, get up and go pee in the bathroom.” I figure when it stops waking me up to say it’s not working, that is when I will have a real problem!

Another fact I found interesting was that if you believe you slept well, even if you haven’t, it will improve your performance! I could lie all day about how great I slept last night and it wouldn’t do anything for my performance during the day. I would look in the mirror and see the bags under my eyes, the drooping shoulders and the shuffling feet and I would KNOW I was a liar!

Fact number three: A good sleep improves your memory. I’m sure this is true, but I sleep so poorly that I can’t really test this out. Unless you count the fact that the opposite is true. I slept poorly last night and so today, when I looked at my notes on this article, I saw that I had written down “sleep, sex, eating.” I have no memory of why I wrote that, and I kind of wish I did! I’ll try to get that good night’s sleep and improved memory tonight and get back to you on that one!

I learned that working out before bed is not good–no worries there, I don’t work out at all!. Also, high altitudes can damage sleep quality–which explains why we don’t all stretch out in the trees at bedtime. Kind of feel bad for the birds, though. I know, I know, this fact was referring to trying to sleep on a plane, but since I don’t think I have the nerve to wake up the person in the seat in front of me, who is pretty much stretched out in my lap and say, “Did you know high altitudes damage sleep quality?”, I will use this fact any way I wish!

According to the article, nightmares aren’t all about fear. Says who? The big bad monsters that people my nightmares are pretty scary! In addition, we, as adults, take little naps throughout the day without even realizing it. This explains so much about my college economics classes!

There followed some random factoids that were not helpful at all. For instance, the longest a person has gone without sleep is 11days–that just makes me tired. Also, ducks sleep with one eye open and one part of their brains awake. I can beat that–I can sleep with both eyes open and no part of my brain awake!

The final fact, and hang on for this one, is that bears don’t poop during hibernation. And wouldn’t the spring awakening be rather unpleasant if they did?

Hope I didn’t put you to sleep without my lovely little sleep facts. I’ll leave you to do the research on their authenticity on your own! Goodnight!

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The grandchildren factor

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It’s been a hectic week. While things are always busy, this week took on special significance because of what I like to call the “grandchildren factor.” And while things in my house are never particularly organized, the “grandchildren factor” definitely adds to the chaos.

As my husband was returning from a day at work, I heard the entry door open and close and then, a lot of loud clumping and some very inventive curses.

“Problem?” I asked, not getting up from my chair.

“Yeah, I tripped over a bunch of boxes; where did these all come from?” he came in, still trying to kick one off of his foot.

“The grandchildren collected them. They want to build something,” I answered.

“Build something? What will they do with it after they build it?” he persisted.

“They will set it up in the back entryway for you to trip over,” I answered. “It’s only a week’s visit; deal with it.”

In fact, the “grandchildren factor” contributes to a lot of things. I make boxed meals and frozen pizzas because the grandchildren “love” those and they think grilled chicken and broccoli is, and I quote, “Gross.”

The “grandchildren factor” means that you find things in the bathtub that were never intended to be in the house (and some of them send you screaming from the room because they MOVED) and you find that your best china basket is now the home of some “really cool rocks.” If the smallest grandchild is here, there is unrolled and unraveled yarn in every corner of the main floor, and many of the refrigerator magnets have been removed and pitched off the deck. The yarn art is good, though, because after I’ve run after grandchildren for a week, I’m ready to just veg out in a chair, rewinding yarn balls!

The “grandchildren factor” is responsible for weird things. Strange smears and marks appear on the windows, doors and mirrors, some of which must be chiseled off. There is a paper trail of snack packages from the pantry closet to the bedroom and I’m not sure the refrigerator door will ever recover from so much opening and closing in a week.

The toothpaste roller disappeared from my toothpaste tube on the second day of their visit and I discovered it on their travel tube of toothpaste because it was “cool.” My crystal swans were rearranged, because if you put one forward and one backward and put them on either side of my round “Teacher of the Year” award, it spells SOS in crystal. Perhaps this was a sign!

The “grandchildren factor” has an opposite side, too. Never is there so much conversation at the dinner table as when they are here. We have riveting discussions about what would happen if you were in space and you had to poop, or how much pee it would take to fill a water glass. Dinner chatter has never been more interesting and becomes very dull after they are gone.

It is impossible to keep enough books on the bedside tables when they are here, because they plow through them. I have always loved this aspect of the “grandchildren factor”, but I suspect part of it is a ploy to keep from going to sleep too early. They love to do artwork to decorate our home, and since they have my artistic skill (I don’t have any), I have many Picasso-like paintings and chalk works.

This week, the younger grandson presented his grandfather with a picture. “Do you like it, Grandpa? It’s your lawn mower tractor.”

“Oh, that’s very nice,” Grandpa said, twisting and turning the picture looking for “up”.

“I want you to put this in your office, Grandpa,” declared the young Michelangelo.

Grandpa thought for a minute and then agreed, but before he took it, he had the artist sign it. “Because,” he explained to me quietly, afterwards, “I don’t want anyone to think I drew it and then brought it to the office.”

It may sound as if I don’t enjoy the “grandchildren factor,” but you would be wrong. When my boys are too old to come and visit for a week or two in the summer, I will be sad. However, the end of the “grandchildren factor” will also end the week following their visit being the “grandparent factor,” where we just sit in the wild shambles of our house and stare at each other!

Enjoy the grandchildren; they grow up even faster than the children did!

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My home away from home?

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I’ve spent the last few days on the road, and that has brought for me a renewed appreciation for those inns of the weary traveler. Of course, I mean the hotels and motels who strive to provide a world wanderer with a night’s rest.

In my years of partaking of the institution, I think I’ve seen every kind there is…from the perfect setting for a perfect night’s rest all the way down to one step up from a card-board box on the sidewalk. The first motel I remember being in was in a small town in the midwest, named cleverly with words beginning with the first three letters of the My mother contended that it really should have been called the Already Been Chewed motel (abc), instead. To add insult to injury, after a night in which we battled spiders living in the shower, rain leaking in through the windows and a smell in the carpet that we not only could not identify, but didn’t really want to, we drove past the other motel in the small town which had definitely not already been chewed!

My most memorable motel might have been one I stayed at with my aunt and grandmother. My grandmother had volunteered to get the motel for the night, but she kept teasing us that it was going to be a “flop-house.” My aunt and I agreed that she had succeeded, since the toilet was in a closet, the air conditioning was loud but not cold and my aunt and I spent the night in a bed that we had shoved against the door, because we discovered to our dismay that more than one door apparently opened with the same key.

There have been some lovely rooms rented by us over the years, but it seems like we are always in the room next to the barking dog, the late-night partiers or the enthusiastic newly-weds, if you follow my meaning. One night was spent in a room directly over the hotel’s conference room, where a wedding reception was in full swing, complete with a very good and very loud mariachi band.

If it isn’t noise, it is sometimes the hints that not everyone in the establishment is after the same thing you are…a good night’s sleep. I was in a hotel room once where the door at the bottom was so bent in that I could see the light of the street lamp outside and I was fairly certain that with very little effort, I could have made a drug purchase. Then, there was the night I spent in a motel that was little more than a line-up of cells along a sidewalk and where a very friendly gentleman passed along the line, knocking on every door, inviting us to his party. He got enough takers so that the party spilled into the parking lot and eventually, some police were invited to wrap up the festivities.

Then, there are the things inside the motel room. You know there is a problem when you don’t want to walk on the carpet with your bare feet, or where you only want to step into the shower after you have thoroughly sprayed it with disinfectant. To say nothing of the thrill of checking the mattress for those charming little livestock that sometimes move in and knowing that you missed something if you wake up the following morning with unexplained bites all over you!

Smells are a particular problem for me. If I smell strong cleaners, it makes my eyes water, but neither do I want to smell some of things those cleaners are eliminating…if they can. I stayed one night in a motel room so filled with cleaning odors that I couldn’t take it…so I opened windows and doors and aired it out. That was when I could smell the odor the cleaning odors had been masking, and in the end, I decided I preferred having my eyes water from cleaner as opposed to wondering exactly what had died in the corner by the bed!

I have always been a big fan of the reality show “Haunted Hotels,” mostly because I had never encountered anything remotely suspicious. But my most recent trip seems to have brought out the worst in the spirit world. In our first hotel, there was a reading lamp in one corner that kept blinking on and off; it was particularly bad when anyone tried to sit down in the chair in the corner to read. The rest of the lights worked fine, just that one would flicker and go on and off. Finally, we unplugged it because it kind of unnerved us and as soon as we did, the lamp over the bed began the flickering and blinking. It might have been faulty wiring, but it seemed rather intentional.

While I’ve never awakened to a spectral being trying to pull off my covers or floating over my head, I did wake up in the dead (pardon the expression) of the night to a small green light, which seemed to float back and forth over the bed. I would make a fine ghost-hunter because my reaction was to cover my head with the blankets and try to go back to sleep! That was enough spooky stuff for my whole lifetime.

As I said at the beginning of this rant, I have stayed in many fine, clean, quiet, un-haunted hotels in my life, but of course, the ones that have stuck in my memory have been the odd ones. May you find that all of your accommodations are truly, your home away from home.

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