I recently read a news item about the discovery of a drug that’s supposed to eliminate sleepiness and possibly even reverse the effects of sleep deprivation. It’s delivered via nasal spray and seems to work pretty well, or at least it does when tested on monkeys. (I wonder how they got the little guys to squeeze the nasal spray up their tiny noses?)
Most adults are pretty familiar with sleep deprivation, either because of their busy schedules or because of the simple fact that as we grow older we usually find it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. I’m well acquainted with the latter concept, although I haven’t yet reached the point of one old guy I knew who claimed he never slept, period.
The simple fact is that most of us will never again sleep as restfully as we did when we were children. Speaking for myself, I think the best I ever slept was when I was very young and sometimes spent cold Winter nights snuggling down into a feather-bed at my Grandparents’ house in the country.
Trips to the country were pretty common for us in the post-war years, especially if my Dad was away traveling on his job. My Mother would pack us a little bag and her and I would ride a Greyhound for an hour or so to the crossroads where Granddad would pick us up in his old coupe.
The evening was spent just visiting and catching up, or sometimes we’d make popcorn and gather around their old Philco to listen to country music. Their house was always warm and cheery in the Winter, with a pot-bellied stove in the living room and another in the kitchen. Unfortunately the heat didn’t much get into the two small bedrooms.
As a small child, my bedtime would normally be earlier than that of the adults, but these were country folks who spent their whole lives as early risers, so everyone pretty much went to bed early (except Granddad, who never seemed to sleep). That meant that even though I could see my breath in the bedroom and there was frost on the window, I didn’t have to face the icy cold bed alone and could burrow in close to my Mother.
No matter how early – or how late – I woke the next morning, it was always tough to climb out of my furrow in the warm bed and run out to the other part of the house — but it was worth it. Both stoves would be glowing cherry red, Granddad would be trying to find the news on the Philco, and Grandma and Mother would be cooking a big country breakfast. I can almost smell the ham and biscuits.
Chet Atkins – “Mister Sandman”