. . . oh, how I love to remain in bed!” Irving Berlin really nailed it in that 1914 World War I tune (I’m not that old; sometimes it just feels that way). With the nights getting longer, I find after dinner it’s time to clean up e-mail for the day, take a toasty bubble bath, and then get into bed to read. By ten the lights are off, and then I should be up at six, having had my eight hours of sleep, right? Wrong. It is still dark at that hour, and in fact, for about an hour after that. It is deliciously tempting to burrow down, particularly knowing that my husband, Keith, isn’t up yet either, and our Maltese is nestled cozily between us.
The problem is, my mind is awake, and I’m thinking about all the things on the day’s agenda. I’m not tired, since I had a good night’s rest, but I can barely open my eyes. Sometimes I imagine my morning coffee and hope that it’s enough to rouse me out of the sack, but often it doesn’t work. I peer through slits I manage to pry open, look at my clock, and close my heavy lids again. This process repeats itself at 6:15, 6:25, 6:40. Finally I think about the beginning of the Today Show. I want to see everyone screaming at the cameras outside of Dean and DeLuca’s (more coffee thoughts!) and at this time of year, the tree at Rockefeller Center, brilliant with thousands of colored lights. That usually does it.
So what’s the harm of staying in bed a bit longer than eight hours? Besides the obvious of losing precious moments of the day, it can contribute to weight gain. (Of course, recently the results of a study were released that indicated that not sleeping enough contributed to weight gain.) I spoke to Keith about this, and got more than I bargained for. (Years ago someone said that 20-20 host Hugh Downs was the kind of guy, who, when asked what time it was, told you how to make a watch. Need I say more?) I heard about melatonin and seratonin and norepinephrine and a whole lot of other things. Well, maybe some of it will help. To clear away the melatonin, he said, I can flip on my bedside lamp in the morning and let the light do its work on me gradually. He said it wouldn’t bother him in the least.
I wonder. The other night I turned off my light at ten and my husband got into bed sometime later. “What’s going on?” he said, pulling the covers up around him. “Looks like someone’s shooting a movie out there.” He was right. The approaching full moon reflecting on snow-covered ground made it exceedingly bright in the bedroom. So he’s pretty sensitive to the light thing, too, and I guess he’ll be getting up in the morning when I do, once I start turning on the lamp. Seems like an easy way to keep in shape, to me. In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting dark outside . . . . zzzzzz.