Thursday, June 23, 2016

Oprah and Arianna Huffington: In Bed

Oprah Magazine May 2016
At the end of the year school picnic, I walked over to a group of teachers who always sit as far away as possible from the kids playing. I circle around and have a chat with all of the groups: kids and adults alike. At this stop, the conversation moved to pajamas. One teacher said that she goes to bed wearing whatever it was that she put on when she got in the door- usually sweat pants and almost always, a bra. I thought to myself, good lord, that's why I hear you complain about never being able to sleep.

When I was kid, I shared a room with my two younger sisters. The one drawer in our shared dresser that I vividly remember is the pajama drawer. I never had to be asked twice to get ready for bed. I'd go right to that drawer and put on an outfit usually made of cotton that had been washed so many times that it was beyond soft to greet sleep in. One of my favorites was my baby doll pajamas. The little top was so sweet with its smocking and maybe even little ribbons. The bottoms were shorty bloomers that puffed out like dandelion seed blooms.  I thought that some of my pajama tops were so pretty that I could wear them to school. Once, I convinced my mother that it was quite appropriate to wear my pj's out, and she didn't argue with me. That day, I think that I had my best day. Anything that got in my way was okay because I was ready to stick it into my subconscious to deal with later in dreams when I went to bed. When I went off to college, my mother sewed a beautiful flannel bathrobe and nightgown for me. It was patterned with little purple flowers just like my favorite blouse when I was 5. I think that I was the only girl on my dorm room floor who had proper sleepwear. It's no wonder that when I graduated, one of my first jobs was as Intimate Apparel manager for Marshall Field's.

I don't know if it was the pajamas or good DNA, but I don't ever have trouble sleeping. I'm from a family of sleepers. When I reached high school and had a strong interest in journalism, my parents told me that I could stay up to watch the 10 o'clock news report. I did it because they offered it to me, and it seemed important, but ... I would rather go to bed. I could read the newspaper in the morning. And that is still my mantra ... oh! I can stay up until the cows come home if I'm having fun, but if I'm just sitting in front of a television or something else as non-engaging, I'll always pick bed. It is not unusual for me to be sound asleep by 9 p.m., sometimes 8,  on a school night. And when I say sound asleep, I mean sound asleep. Once, I was awoken by the sound of an angel singing. I have to tell you that with all of the sleep that I can do, I am also an active dreamer ... occasional nightmares and sleepwalking. For a long time, a friend lived in the same apartment building as I do still. When I told her that I awoke in the middle of the night to sound of an angel singing, she said, 'Carol, it was 10 o'clock and it was the girl across the hall.' Oh.

So here we have Arianna Huffington who realized that she suffered from exhaustion from lack of sleep when she passed out and cracked her head on the corner of her desk. The doctor told her, you don't get enough sleep. She took the hint and now has a routine and has written a book on the subject. Naturally, everything that she recommends, I already knew. It boils down to two important points in establishing a bedtime routine: turn off stupid (television, cell phone, computer) and wear some damn pajamas ... however you like to wear them ... nightgown, pj's, silk, cotton ... whatever. If you want to be your best, you need to reach for 8 hours of sleep. And you get there, like anything else, with planning and preparation. And pajamas.

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