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Over 60...and Getting Younger: July 16, 2010

Sleep

It has been said that we human beings sleep away one-third of our given lives. Those eight hours that we spend on mattresses during the night could be put to much better use. Imagine if Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer or Charles Darwin could have had all that productive time to invent things to better humanity. What a waste!

I, thank goodness, have no trouble falling asleep. I can’t think of any problem worse than insomnia. We are blessed who can doze off while watching David Letterman or Jay Leno and wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to face the world.

Dreaming is a very important part of many people’s sleep process. It is said that we complete some incomplete daily tasks during the night. The half-finished sentences and thoughts are consummated during the hours that we lie dormant. Most of the ideas for this column, Over 60 and Getting Younger, arrive during the inactive hours between 11 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

My grandmother Channah could fall asleep at the very edge of a chair. People would say she would fall off, but she never did. Personally, I can fall asleep on a couch just as easily as I can on a comfortable mattress. Incidentally, the word mattress is spelled with a double s, unlike the jingle in the commercial.

I am glad you brought up the topic of snoring. Snoring has been the bane of many marriages. The sounds of a fluttering uvula have caused many couples to sleep in different bedrooms. An entire industry has sprung up to alleviate the snoring dilemma. Odd-looking instruments are placed on the face and plugged into a socket. Many people stop breathing while sleeping, and there are devices to solve that problem.

My Uncle Murray snored all the way up the Italian peninsula in the infantry during World War II. The soldiers in his outfit said he was giving away their position to the enemy. They had to stifle the sounds from his nose.

To quote Horatio at the end of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Good night, sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

I wish all my readers a good night’s sleep.