Pine Nuts: A case for eight hours of sleep |

Pine Nuts: A case for eight hours of sleep

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Sleeping, when you think about it, is one of the weirdest things that we do, and maybe the healthiest. We make our room as dark as we can, wrap ourselves up like a moth in a cocoon, tell our brain to turn itself off, and go nigh’-nigh.’ That is so weird.

But it serves to charge our batteries so to speak, and allows our brains to clean house while our subconscious takes over and plays Demolition Derby with our dreams.

They say we’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but who, besides Rip Van Winkle, ever gets eight hours sleep in a night? Beware the belief, “Sleep is overrated, we can sleep when we’re dead.” That belief only hurries-up the process.

Sleep is healthful, wholesome and rejuvenating, unless you’re sleeping next to someone who snores. Snoring is the bane of humanity. It does nobody any good. It is of no benefit to the snorer and does immeasurable harm to the sufferer. So we have the well-worn maxim, “Sing and the world sings with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

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When I snore mosquitos exit the room, never to return. I personally snored so thunderously loud one night in back in August that a panel of wallpaper peeled down from the ceiling to the floor. Luckily, I was in a hotel and I didn’t have to fix it, as I would not have known how. Still, I exited by way of the fire escape.

I happen to know the secret to getting a good night’s sleep; go to bed utterly and terminally exhausted. Do not, and I repeat, do not stare at a computer screen or smart phone before turning out the lights. Electronic devises excite the brain and make it impossible for you to “sign off.” This has everything to do with electronic light lowering levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clock, and you don’t want to mess with your internal clock.

Abe Lincoln always got a good night’s sleep because he split wood all day, then read a book at night by candlelight. Abe got his straight eight, and became one of the best presidents we ever had.

There is a fine line between feeling optimistic in the morning and feeling pessimistic, and that fine line is hard-wired into the number of hours of sleep we get.

As an example, when I’ve had eight hours sleep and a ring of the telephone wakes me up, I answer, “Good morning and glad tidings, how can I help you.” But if the phone rings and I’ve had seven hours sleep, I answer, “By the ghost of Hamlet’s father, why are you calling from purgatory at this ungodly hour?!” (I cleaned that up for this fine family journal.)

So you see how important is that eighth hour of sleep. It is all-important. Then you might want to ask, “Can I make up that lost hour with a nap?” No. Naps are for dogs and cats. People who nap are missing out on an hour of the day when things are actually happening.

Ben Franklin told us, “Early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” Don’t believe that flapdoodle. Take your sleep advice from the Curmudgeon of Clemens Cove, “Sleep in, then save the world.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at


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