Pine Nuts: The secret to a good night’s sleep |

Pine Nuts: The secret to a good night’s sleep

There is one thing, and one thing only, that I do better than anybody else … sleep.

I sleep like Ol’ Rip Van Winkle, who slept through the Revolutionary War. I could sleep till 2024, but I’m afraid I might get called home, as in heaven, or a warmer clime, in the middle of that convenient snooze. So what’s my secret?

I’m anal-retentive when it comes to writing down my objectives for the day in free hand. As I accomplish those objectives I take great delight in the kinetic dynamic of crossing them out.

At the end of the day, objectives that did not get accomplished get moved to the next day, and the current day gets ceremoniously blacked out. The feeling one gets from this end of day elixir becomes a sedative, and you will sleep like a yellow hunting dog.

But don’t take my word for it, according to Baylor University research, “There’s something about the act of writing, physically writing something on paper, that helps us hit the Pause button.”

The brain does its own housekeeping, the vacuuming so to speak, while we sleep, and if we clear the shelves before our head hits the pillow, well, it makes vacuuming that much easier, and a clean house is a happy house.

In full disclosure I sometimes sleep too long for my own good. I fell asleep at a party once here in the village on a couch that was scheduled to be picked up by a thrift store truck the following morning. I was awakened inside the thrift store by a lady who jostled me with her hand and said, “Sir, Sir, you have to go home now.” Since that episode I have had to live with the moniker, “King of the Party When Awake.”

But it gets worse. When I sleep my heart beat drops off to the same as that of a hibernating squirrel, about five beats a minute. So when I was found asleep in my car, and the paramedics did not find a pulse, they delivered me to Bulgo’s Mortuary, where they were moving me to an autopsy table when somebody dropped a hacksaw and I sat up. They had to remove an assistant to the hospital when she fainted.

So there you have it, to get a full night’s rest, write down your goals for the day and take great delight in crossing them off as they get accomplished. Then end your day by blacking out the entire day with large sweeping strokes of a Sharpie or heavy-duty fabric marker. But you need to be careful not to get carried away with this sure-fire sedative, and wake up in the year 2050, having missed the Mars landing and the arrival of self-driving private planes.

The important thing, the essential thing, is that you write down your goals, accomplish those goals, cross them out, and be rewarded with eight hours of blissful sleep.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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