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May 6 butki column

May 07, 2001

A lesson by late-sleeping slumber-loving Scott

By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

There are some habits people just don't talk about in today's society, and I'm going to break that wall of silence. I'd like to talk about sleep habits and how you can sleep longer than the average human.

First, be tired. That's important.

Second, drink before going to bed. Not alcohol, because that affects the quality of your sleep. Instead, drink water or warm milk. But not too much, or you'll have to get up at 4 a.m. to deal with it.

Third, keep a bottle of water near your bed. That way, if you awaken at, say, 10 a.m., you just reach for the bottle and drink without leaving the bed. If you get hungry while you sleep, then keep a granola bar there, too.

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Fourth, keep an electric fan in the room. If neighbors are loud, you can create white noise to block them out.

Fifth, keep boring, sleep-inducing reading material by the bed. I suggest a collection of George Will columns.

Sixth, keep the answering machine on to screen all calls.

Seventh, keep a notepad by your bed. That way you can scribble down thoughts that come during the night, such as, "Hey, this sleep drivel could make a decent column."

Finally, don't think of it as sleeping half the day away. Think instead that you don't have to make or eat breakfast and you can now have two lunches instead.

Warnings: Kids, don't try this at home without first explaining your plans to trained professionals, namely your parents.

Parents, don't be surprised if your kids try to wake you up early. Tell them the house is now a library and they must remain silent.

I gave a much shorter version of these lessons while a shy high school junior in a required speech class.

The assignment was to go on a stage and demonstrate how to do something.

I couldn't talk loud. I spoke too fast. I had a teacher who would make me give a speech twice if the first one wasn't adequate.

So I figured sleep was something I knew how to do. Besides, there's a couch on the stage.

So I made a few comments and took a short nap.

I only got a B, and that nap was of low quality, but I think it was one of my finer pieces of performance art and rebellion.

Scott Butki covers Washington County government for The Herald-Mail. Send e-mail to him at scottb@herald-mail.com.

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