Hump Day: Burning midnight oil with best supporting pillow nominee

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I have a weekly email newsletter that goes out to nearly 500 subscribers. The newsletter touches on a number of areas, including business, social media, as well as local community events and initiatives.

Through the newsletter service I use, I can always tell which links are being clicked on in the newsletter. These statistics help me to determine what subscribers like to read. This has led me to a very interesting discovery about my subscribers – and I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and say the same thing likely applies to many of you reading this column today.

To put it bluntly, we’re all sleep deprived.

I’m pretty sure I could add stories to my newsletter on the most perverted, inhuman sex acts known to mankind and they’d virtually go ignored in favour of articles about how to sleep like a baby, how to fall asleep quickly, and what foods to avoid before bedtime in order to help guarantee a better sleep.

I’ve never understood how people can sleep past 6 a.m. – although waking up that early has been more of a struggle recently as my atrocious let’s-go-to-bed-at-1-a.m. habit has reared its ugly head again. It’s not easy to wake up early when the last thing you hear is the anchor of the 1 a.m. radio newscast signing off in favour of some international show from Europe that only people who are working the nightshift will ever hear.

sleepingIn a fit of cash flow, I recently bit the bullet and bought myself a couple of fancy-shmancy pillows – one that was to be filled with water and one that was a combination of cool gel and memory foam. To be honest, both are great pillows and have actually really helped me stay comfortable and avoid neck muscle tension. When you sit at a computer most of the day, muscle tension is a major demon you need to avoid.

I like to sleep propped up on a pile of pillows with my neck nestled in there like a vise that won’t be moving any time soon. I’m not one for a soft pillow. Let’s just say that concrete is too soft for me.

I somehow managed to fill the water pillow with nearly five litres of water without soaking the pillow or turning the living room into a pool. That was my first victory. This is a great pillow, but it can also be deadly. Remember – I filled it with five litres of water. That’s heavy – about 11 pounds, to exact.

Now, if you’re used to a light fluffy pillow that you can just willy-nilly move around every night, this Sumo wrestler of a pillow will cure you of that habit, that’s for sure. In fact, the first night I used it, I reached over my head to adjust it only to quickly figure out that moving this incredibly heavy pillow was not going to work. This was a good thing, since half the time the pillows end up on the other side of the bed when I wake up in the morning.

Let’s just say that this water-filled pillow might as well be nailed to the bed because when I wake up in the morning, it’s exactly at the same place it was when I fell asleep because it weighs a ton. (And for a pillow, 11 pounds might as well be a ton!)

As for the gel memory foam pillow, I had a brilliant idea. Why not place it on top of the water-filled pillow? Oooh. This would then give me the ultimate pillow of the entire universe: gel, memory foam, and water. And while I was at it, I’d throw my trusty old Sobakawa buckwheat-filled pillow under my neck, too. My neck would be at a 90-degree angle and feel like it was on immovable concrete blocks. It would win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Pillow. (I’m very sorry. I couldn’t help it.)

And you know what? It works – at least for me. Others would probably not be terribly comfortable sleeping at a propped up angle like that, but it’s heaven to me – and those pricey pillows purchased during that temporary fit of cash flow are certainly earning their keep. I go to sleep and wake up pretty much with everything still in place – especially that water-filled pillow. Seriously, don’t try to absent mindedly yank that pillow out of place to adjust it in the middle of the night because you’ll probably tear your arm out of its socket – and I’m only half kidding.

In the end, though, you can do everything possible to ensure you get a night’s sleep, but you still need to get those hours in. You’ve got the comfy pillow, the great mattress, the dark room, the ear plugs, the nasal strips and the lavender oil wafting around the room like some sort of spa, but if you’re going to bed at 1 a.m. and the alarm is going off at 5:55 a.m. like me, it’s just not doable in the long term. Sure, you can tough it out for a few nights, but at some point you’ll just turn into a zombie.

I’m at the point where if I get too much sleep I get just as tired as if I didn’t sleep at all. But let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how tough you are. Eventually, you won’t continue functioning on barely five hours of sleep. Something has to give. Naps must be had. Sofas must be adhered to like a fly on one of those sticky fly traps that hang from the ceiling.

I often laugh when I’m on Facebook and I read these updates from people who can’t stay awake past 9 p.m. Half the time, I’m still working at 9 p.m., let alone crawling into bed for 10 hours of sleep. Ah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Until then, I might as well be sleep-deprived and live a little.

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