Column: Asleep at the wheel

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

I have tried many things over the years to get a better night’s sleep. I once took Ambien but when I woke up in the morning, I discovered I had mown the entire front lawn in the dark. I tried allergy medicine but it made me a little goofy. Growling at myself in the mirror isn’t normal.

Why do I sleep well on a bus? Nothing about a bus lends itself to sleeping. The seats are hard, the space is cramped and it’s usually hot.

I decided to simulate the conditions on a bus that make me nod off. I asked my wife to talk to me like a tour guide, to drone on about how the Greeks built the Acropolis or how the Romans constructed the Appian Way. Mary Ellen felt dumb talking to me from the foot of the bed. I asked her to rock the bed back and forth so I’d feel like I was really on the bus. That’s when she got off the bus and slept on the couch.

I took a hard-back metal folding chair and sat on it next to my bedroom window while bouncing up and down like I was on a bus. But I was still wide awake after 30 minutes. Maybe it’s the sun that makes me drowsy, so I shone a floor lamp directly in my eyes. No luck. What else could I do? Mary Ellen wouldn’t let me invite 30 strangers over to sit around the bed.

Wait! The bus trips are during the day, and I’m trying to sleep at night. So I got back into my folding chair at high noon. The sun was pouring in on my face. Suddenly I felt myself getting sleepy, very sleepy. Zzzz…

It worked. I slept from noon until 8 p.m., sitting straight up in the chair, leaning against my bedroom window. My insomnia was cured.

Two hours later, it was time for bed. I got under the covers and just couldn’t fall asleep.

Go figure.