That is a sobering statistic, with huge implications in how our reaction time, clarity and focus is affected in everything we do -- from work productivity to driving. Last week I decided to lighten up the subject a little bit, and poke fun at ourselves and the hysterical things we do while bone tired. After all, walking zombies do some pretty funny stuff! Here is the link to last week's post.
I am amazed at the sheer volume of funny stories I received this week reflecting the idiotic things we do when sleep deprived. Here are some of the "best of the best" from a variety of good sports who confessed some of their funniest moments:
Putting both contacts in one eye ... almost mistaking nail glue for contact solution ... going to sleep and forgetting the dogs were outside in the cold ... putting the dust pan in the refrigerator -- and the milk on the floor near the broom ... looking for my glasses and wearing two pairs on my head ... finding the butter in the dish cabinet ... wearing a terrific suit and two different black pumps ... and finally -- going through the drive thru for coffee and ordering from the trash can.
Classic. It just goes on and on.
One reader shared this little gem:
I once spent five minutes searching desperately for my cell phone, complaining the whole time about it being missing, to my girlfriend, who I was talking to on my cell phone. This went on until she timidly asked "Are you using your cell phone right now?" It was such an out of body experience, I just hung up.
Another brave soul bared it all with this story:
Probably TMI, but my best story is falling asleep on the can in the middle of the night with my head resting against the facing wall. I was awakened by a house guest. How embarrassing.
And this one is my all time favorite:
Many years ago I had to do a presentation. When I got to the meeting and opened my brief case, I realized I had been carrying a backgammon board all morning.
I spent some time this week talking with renowned sleep expert; Dr. Richard Shane, who is a psychotherapist and has been working with sleep issues for decades. He has developed a simple way to help identify easy tips to "lean into sleep" once your head hits the pillow; and a great system for insomniacs to learn how to get to sleep reliably without medications. Turns out, he also has a great sense of humor.
Here are a couple of his favorite jokes around insomnia:
In the middle of the night, George was pacing back and forth in his room, unable to sleep. This woke his wife, who asked him why he couldn't sleep. He replied, "You know that thousand dollars I borrowed from Bob next store? Well it's due tomorrow, and I don't have it, and I'm anxious and can't sleep." His wife said, "Honey, I have the solution." She opened up the window and yelled to the house next store. "Bob, wake up." A light went on in the house next store and Bob stuck his head out of his window. She continued, "You know that thousand dollars my husband owes you? Well he doesn't have it!" Then she closed her window and turned to her husband. "There, now let him pace the floor and you go to sleep.
Sid Caeser was a very popular comedian in the 1950s and 60s. Someone told me that he once did a routine in which he had insomnia, was tossing and turning and disturbing his wife, Imogene Coca, so she told him he had to get help. The next scene is of the next night and he says, "Honey, I saw a sleep doctor today and I know just what to do." He gets in bed, closes his eyes and says, "Good night feet. Good night ankles," and moves his way up through his body. Finally he says, "Good night, brain." Long pause. "I SAID GOOD NIGHT, BRAIN!" So much for progressive muscle relaxation.
As many of us know, laughter is the best medicine in life. When we can laugh at ourselves, even when we're so tired we can't remember why we went into a room, it helps us to lighten up, and then potentially be able to shift gears out of that crabby mood or lethargic slump.
Dr. Shane has assembled a YouTube medley of some of the funniest television clips of insomnia from the classics of Lorel and Hardy and the Little Rascals. Check it out. While the clip is a full seven minutes, it's worth it. The last clip of the guy using a calculator to count sheep is worth the wait:
Science has already proven that laughter is helpful to heal us when we are sick. However, no studies have yet been conducted as to the potential benefits of comedy to help improve sleep. Here's a challenge as we hit the home stretch of our sleep challenge: for the next seven days, before going to bed at night, put on a show that really makes you laugh, or read a funny book instead of watching the horrors of Haiti on CNN, or some really bad reality show. Notice if it makes any difference during the night or the next day. Both Dr. Shane and I will be collecting stories of how it goes, and what you notice.
In the meantime, know that if you can't find your car keys, or your shoes, or your child - you are not alone! Join our little club here with any good stories you have in our zombie party! Feel free to share this on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and click on Become a Fan to receive weekly updates