One of my journalist friends suggested that I should be honoured for my writing. "You have a vast body of work," he said. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "At my age I would prefer to have a vast body that works."
There was a time I thought I did but, alas, I was lulling myself into a false sense of security. I found out that I had become a sound sleeper. In other words, I snored loudly but only when I slept. I did not only disturb those next to me but also those in the next room to me and even those in the next apartment. One hotel thought of building a special soundproofed room for me. I was like the man who so terrorized his houseguests that one of the ladies said, "You haven’t slept until you sleep with Tom." And he quickly responded, "That’s what all the ladies say."
There is a story about a man who went to the doctor for help. He complained, "Doctor, as soon as I fall asleep I start snoring?" The doctor asked, "Is your snoring loud?" After the man said that in fact it was very, very loud the doctor enquired, "Does it bother your wife?" The man replied that he was not married. "So what’s the problem then?" the doctor asked. The man shook his head sadly, "I’ve lost five jobs because of it."
In England people lose their spouses because of snoring. While some call it "sheet music": it strikes such a discordant note it topped the list of bedtime annoyances. Last month The Daily Mail reported that snoring is the most irritating habit in Britain’s bedrooms: "It might not seem a lot to ask from a loved one. But a good night’s sleep, it appears, is one of the things we find most difficult to offer each other. Millions of Britons are losing vital hours of shut-eye because of a partner’s disturbances. Not surprisingly, the number one complaint is snoring.. Despite their groaning, 44 per cent of people admit to snoring themselves. In some cases our partner’s bed etiquette is so bad that 74 per cent of Brits claim they lose seven hours of shut eye a week."
The situation is not as bad in the United States (US). In a survey related to a restful night’s sleep, forty seven percent of respondents who share a bed indicated that they sleep with someone who snores. What makes it worse is what I call the first law of somnolence, "The one who snores will fall asleep first."
However, snoring is only one aspect of what seems to be a very severe situation. The Better Sleep Council (BSC), the consumer arm of the International Sleep Products Association, conducted a survey which reveals that more than half of Americans—over 157 million people—don’t get enough sleep and this can have dire physical and mental consequences. The BSC says, it’s a "sleepocalypse."
The BSC survey revealed that 61% of Americans and nearly four out of five women would rather get a good night’s sleep than have sex. The survey also found that nearly half of Americans fall asleep somewhere other than their bed at least once a week and about 11% fall asleep somewhere other than their bed every day.
BSC Director of Communications, Karen Mahoney, admitted, "We were stunned by some of the survey responses. One man fell asleep on a rooftop. Another man fell asleep while interviewing a job candidate. There was a teacher who fell asleep at the podium in front of her class. Clearly, people are sleeping just about everywhere except where they should be—in their own beds."
The British might hate snoring but the same survey that confirmed snoring as the most annoying bedroom habit (with hogging the coverlet, sleeping naked and fidgeting as other major issues) found that "pillow talk" topped the list of the ten most pleasurable bedtime activities. The Urban Dictionary defines pillow talk as, "The conversation that happens after making out/sex. It's infinitely better than normal conversation because there's touching involved." Wikipedia is more explicit, "Pillow talk is the relaxed, intimate conversation that often occurs between two sexual partners after the act of coitus, usually accompanied by cuddling, caresses, and other physical intimacy. It is associated with honesty, sexual afterglow, and bonding and is distinguished from dirty talk which usually forms part of foreplay." It is not the situation where a couple is lying in bed and the woman says, "'I am going to make you the happiest man in the world." And the man replies, "I’ll miss you."
In some cases women may not be involved in the pillow talk at all. The survey revealed ten per cent of UK couples would rather share their bed with a pet over their other half, and sixteen percent of men prefer a three-in-a-bed snooze. However, the ménage à trois comprises not another man or woman but their favourite cuddly toy. I suppose in such a case the partner has to grin and bear it or, if irritated, yell, "Stuff it!"
The most interesting sleep research findings are from Canada where a national survey found that people who are well-off and have a University education get more sleep than those in the lowest income-earning range with limited education. I believe the research is consistent with the definition of a University lecturer, "Someone who talks in other people’s sleep."
Tony Deyal was last seen saying that when he told his doctor that he snored so loudly he woke himself up, the doctor suggested that he should try sleeping in another room.