This Column is a Yawn


By Neil Offen

How can you get more zzzzs and feel more rested? And do you really want to wait till you get all the way to the end of the alphabet?

As we have previously explained, good sleep is essential to not nodding off while driving at a high rate of speed on the interstate. Fortunately, if you want better sleep, the answer is simple: You need to improve your sleep hygiene. That means preparing for sleep in an organized manner and giving yourself the best possible situation to allow you to fall asleep and stay asleep until it is time to take your nap.

How do we know good sleep hygiene is important? We know it because every newspaper article, lifestyle magazine, health podcast and AARP newsletter tells us that good sleep hygiene is very important. Why would they all lie?

There are, of course, several rules for good sleep hygiene. In case you didn’t come across them in a newspaper article, lifestyle magazine, health podcast or the AARP newsletter, here they are:

Develop a sleep routine. Do anything that relaxes you before heading to bed — take a warm shower, spend a few moments meditating or quietly pop open a bag of Doritos.

Go to bed at the same time every night and plan on getting up at the same time every morning, preferably in the same place. In the case of the switch to daylight saving time, just acknowledge that you are screwed.

Make sure your bedroom environment is soothing and comfortable and is not on the parade route of a marching band.

Drinking alcoholic beverages late at night can interfere with your sleep, so start your drinking early in the day.

Before going to bed, stay away from electronic devices. Don’t stare at that phone, tablet or computer screen unless there happens to be a really interesting Twitter thread or something about how to buy the best electric can openers.

Avoid bright lights before bed, particularly those of a police interrogation.

Do not eat Mallomars in bed, although there are exceptions to this rule, like Wednesdays and Sundays.

Do not Zoom after 10 p.m., especially with people who can’t figure out how to mute themselves.

Don’t text anyone late at night because they will probably text you back and you will have to text them back and this could go on all night and you’ll never get to bed but at least you will have the last word.

Never go to sleep angry. Stay up and fight. Scream a little. Shout threateningly at the phone when you get cut off after 20 minutes on hold with customer service when you were trying to complain about customer service. It’s likely to really tire you out, giving you a much better chance of falling asleep.

If you are tossing and turning and can’t get to sleep after about 10 or 15 minutes, get out of bed and go into the guest room and toss and turn on the bed there. If that doesn’t work, consider joining a marching band. It’s very tiring, particularly if you are playing a cello.

Finally, use your bed only for sleep and sex. Ideally, not at the same time.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column will appear twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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1 Comment on "This Column is a Yawn"

  1. I love your writing! Informative and hilarious! thanks!

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