Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2000

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 14, 2000

Sleep, wonderful sleep.

I love sleep. It’s the second-most favorite thing I like to do, second to notsleeping. Go figure.I’m a night-owl. Given the opportunity for a perfectly good night’s rest, Iprefer to sit up late at night and read or watch TV or cruise the Internet.

However, once I turn out the light and slip beneath the bedcovers and pull them over my head, positioning my legs and arms in the most comfortable position, I can slide into a deep sleep in moments.

Drives my wife nuts.

She’s the opposite. She’ll work hard all day, watch what she eats anddrinks and goes to bed usually before 9 p.m. However, as she puts it, she”can’t stop thinking” and often gets less restful sleep than I do.

She’s told me she’s watched me get comfortable and get to sleep virtually at will and she’s wanted to wake me up out of sheer jealousy.

I’ve suggested everything to her from self-hypnosis to Tylenol PM but she says she can’t induce sleep by herself and doesn’t want to get used to using drugs to induce sleep.

I can understand her viewpoint but I find it hard to explain to her how I taught myself how to “turn my brain off” and slam into deep sleep in a minute or two.

I tell her I sleep the sleep of the truly innocent. That’s when I get thepillow thrown at me.

The other night, though, was one of the exceptions. After at Wednesdaynight meeting, I got home still wound up from the evening. I got on thecomputer, intending to be on long enough to check my e-mail. When Ilooked up from that, it was nearly midnight.

I went to bed and to sleep. Unfortunately, I awakened at 3:30 a.m. andstruggled for two hours to get back to sleep. In this, I was not successful.That meant I spent much of Thursday afternoon in a fairly groggy state, uncharacteristic for me.

But this weekend I plan to sleep late. Late for me is anything past 6 a.m.and, if I’m very fortunate, past 7 a.m. Of course, I have appointments andevents to cover for the paper, meaning I get very little real “rest” during the weekend, but then there’s Sunday.

When I was a child, I loved to sit up into the wee hours, listening to my short-wave radio receiver through the headphones to BBC or Voice of America and sometimes tuning in Quito, Ecuador or Radio Moscow. To me,it was a window to the world and generated the love I have for radio to this day.

However, it engendered very bad sleep habits and once I was in high school and had to get sleep to be able to function, I trained myself to dive headlong into a deep sleep by using a biofeedback technique to shut down my active thinking and worrying about tomorrow or yesterday.

Sometimes, though, my body objects and the old habits slip through.

Tonight, I’ll be good. Tonight, I’ll be asleep before 10 a.m. Unless, ofcourse, I start thinking again.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur

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