Precious Sleep – Part 3
What happens when someone can’t get to sleep no matter how hard they try? They want to sleep, it’s a priority, they have created a good sleep environment and have turned off all the distracting electronic devises. Yet, sleep still eludes them. It is under these circumstances that people often turn to sleep aids like herbal capsules, melatonin or prescription sleeping pills. Do these work to get healthy sleep? Are they safe?
“I love to sleep! Why can’t I do more of it?” “I just can’t sleep. I lay there for hours and it doesn’t happen.” “I can’t turn off my mind from thinking about all I have to do.” “ I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep.”
Do these sound familiar? It is often the case that people want to sleep more, longer and better but that seemingly simple goal is as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
It is not often that I have the chance to look to Shakespeare for medical guidance. After all, eyes of newts, frog toes and dragon scales are not as popular as they once were. The bard’s weary Dane famously opined, “To die, to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil…” thereby equating sleep with death. For all the troubles people have with getting a really good night’s sleep, might they somehow be thinking the same thing?
“Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” T.S. Elliot’s prescient observations came to mind recently. I had just read four articles that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal in as many days. Though separate from each other, from my perspective they formed a continuous narrative.
Dem Dry Bones
Next time you are in a group of people, notice the adult women and count them off by fours. One, two, three, YOU, one, two, three, YOU, one, two, three, YOU. Just consider the group you have picked out. They represent what current statistics show. About one out of every 4 adult women aged 40-50 in the United States is on an SSRI antidepressant, which includes Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.
iPad can be iBad
Everything in life involves balance, weighting pros and cons, risks and benefits, good and bad. There is nothing that is an unalloyed good. That brings me to the topic at hand – iPad, iPods, iPhone and any other iThings. No one can dispute that these hand-helds have brought rapid changes to our world. Slowly years have been accumulating on the post-iPad side of the demarcation between “What is an iPad?” and “What is the newest version of the iPad?”
The Wondrous Joint
I hope it is not a disappointment that this article is about anatomy and not an intoxicant.
Every aspect of human anatomy and physiology incites wonderment. In fact, the more you know about how our human body works, the more astounding our entire structure and functions are. If asked to pick a favorite part most chose the nerve-enriched pleasure centers – lips, taste buds, eyes, ears and other more private sensory pleasing areas.
Frankly, for me nothing beats the knee.
Who Cares about the Salad Fork?
The poor, beleaguered salad fork. For years it has been the ‘poster child’ for those who claim that traditional manners and etiquette are a bunch of out-of-date rules that are arbitrary and senseless. “Who cares about a salad fork?” “What difference does it make what fork I use?” For the generations that eat most of their food with their fingers, the salad fork quandary is certainly far removed from their daily concerns.
A recent Wall Street Journal article brought up the issue of popularity with its tantalizing title, “The Secret of Popularity.” (1) Is becoming popular really a secret?
The author cites several recent books and research studies that all point to the idea that paying attention to others rather than oneself and understanding others’ views makes for more popular and happier people. This is hardly the stuff of triple vault, encrypted state secrets.
The Lost Art of Paying Attention
It is not actually accurate to say that paying attention is an ‘art’, albeit a lost one. It is a skill that can be learned, improved and, of course, forgotten and neglected by disuse. I would go so far as to say our culture has a crisis of not paying attention. If you have ever been talking to a friend on the phone, only to suddenly find your friend in a conversation with someone other than you, say the dry cleaner, the post office clerk or his or her child, then you know what I mean.