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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Struggling to sleep? Try paying visit to institute

Jan Polek The Spokesman-Review

Some may long for a mid- summer night’s dream, but most of us would be content with a good night’s sleep. Simply mention to friends that you are having difficulty sleeping through the night, and you will get endless suggestions. And I actually have tried many of them, including three nights at a sleep institute. Prior to checking in, I had been told to bring with me the things I would typically use before bedtime. The nurse must have known she was in for a long night when I unpacked my overnight case to reveal two cans of caffeinated pop, a piece of apple pie, a transistor radio, two huge pillows and a chocolate truffle.

All those things were promptly confiscated (my “new” pillow was hard and flat and nothing else was replaced – never did find out what happened to the truffle). Three nights later, my condition was diagnosed and these days I am sleeping somewhat better, but not blissfully. Sleep disorders take different forms: sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, REM behavioral disorder, sleepwalking and night terrors. (My condition isn’t even on the major list).

Research continues on a search for a cure, or at least, better control of sleep disorders. Online, the Journal of Advanced Nursing, contains a study of people aged 60 or older who were given tapes of music to listen to once they were in bed. Different styles of music were played for 45 minutes. After three weeks, 47 percent of the music listeners had turned into good sleepers while 53 percent were still having problems. For other sleep studies, I suggest

Beware of ‘Energy Vampires’

Even if you are well rested, there are people who can exhaust you in a few minutes. According to Dr. Judith Orloff’s book, “Positive Energy” these energy vampires include the sob sister who complains constantly, the super critic and the drama queen (insert local names here). Dr. Orloff points out that life itself is hard and we all need loving, positive people around us. And it is our responsibility to ward off the vampires which only requires courage and a willingness to hang up the phone (nothing as dramatic as a garlic necklace).

Sunday poetry

A small column, but one large in its implications, is the new feature, “American Life in Poetry,” by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, in IN Life on Sundays. This is a weekly column which presents short American poems with a brief analysis.

A recent offering was “The Potato Eaters” by Leonard Nathan:

Sometimes, the naked taste of potato

reminds me of being poor.

The first bites are gratitude,

The rest, contented boredom.

Honest George

Our first president, George Washington, said: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an ‘Honest Man.’ “