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Doug Clark: Sleep deprivation affects all of us

A shocking national study last April revealed that 41million American workers suffer from a lack of sleep.

Nobody paid attention to this shocking study, however, due to all the other shocking studies warning that Americans (a) are fatter than pregnant walruses (b) eat junk foods filled with dead bugs and rat poison and (c) can get cancer by going outside for more than a minute.

I suspect al-Qaida terrorists are actually behind these so-called scientific studies, releasing them day after day in an attempt to turn us into a nation of drooling neurotics.

Much to my surprise, however, the findings about America’s sleepless workforce appear to be valid.

At the very least, sleep deprivation is affecting the quality of our local car burglars.

Jason D. Hill, for example.

According to our recent news story, police discovered the 33-year-old sawing logs early Thursday morning inside a vehicle he was apparently burglarizing at a Post Falls parking lot.

Hill was arrested and booked into jail.

After the officers finished peeing themselves and holding their aching sides from laughter, that is.

That would be my first response if I were a cop who had just nabbed a burglar who had drifted off into the Land of Nod.


Hill’s guilt must be proven in a court of law, of course.

Our story, however, did report that the suspect was wearing gloves and appeared to be removing a stereo from inside a car that wasn’t his.

Police also found “another stolen stereo along with burglary tools, wallets and a cellphone.”

Plus several other cars in the lot had been burglarized.

Add it all up and I’m betting we won’t see any publicity-seeking defense lawyers marching around the Kootenai County Jail with “Free Jason Hill” signs.

But there is a larger issue here.

And that is that not getting enough sleep can cause serious on-the-job embarrassment.

Take the City Council’s weekly nonsensical ramblings.

It’s clear that these people need extensive bed rest.

The CBS news story on this subject suggested that sleep-starved workers would be wise to change their slumber habits.

One way is to go to bed at the same time every night.

Another way is to create “a relaxing bedroom environment” that is NOT somebody else’s ride in a Post Falls parking lot.

College taught me the importance of a good night’s rest.

I found out the hard way that you can’t stay up all night waiting for the alarm clocks you planted to go off in the rooms of your fellow dorm residents and still be able to comprehend anything that’s being said the next day in classes.

It was a great joke, though.

I’d go to thrift stores and buy old wind-up alarm clocks for maybe a quarter each. Then, when my friends were out in the hall, I’d hide the clocks in their rooms, setting the alarms to go off every half-hour beginning at 2 a.m.

It was such great theater hearing my Pearce Hall chums cursing and stumbling around as they tried to find out where all that damnable ringing was coming from.

But the joke was on me. I’d stumble into, say, astronomy class and invariably doze off inside the soothing womblike dark of the planetarium.

PROFESSOR – “And to the left you will see the three bright stars otherwise known as Orion’s Belt.”

DOUG – “Zzzzzzz …”

You don’t have to be a car burglar to benefit from what my second-grade teacher used to say.

“You can’t be at your best if you don’t get your rest.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 ordougc@spokesman. com.

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