The Underwear Test

You know you’re getting old when you look down at the clock and think “Oh! It’s almost 11:30. I need to get to bed soon.”

Actually it’s not so much getting old as it is becoming accustomed to my new earlier schedule. I like getting up earlier and I honestly don’t notice myself being pissy nearly as much in the AM, but I think part of that is that no one else is awake, so I have those first 15 or 20 minutes all to myself. I don’t have to be polite or try not to act like I’m shuffling around, half-dressed, searching for pants in the breezy morning while I try to slam the door shut so my roommate doesn’t see me almost-naked. I can wander around at six in the morning in my skivvies if I wanted to and Cavan would never know the difference.

One suggestion, though: don’t check your email after ditching your work pants and sitting in undies at the computer unless you’re positive the roomie won’t be getting up till after noon. He didn’t notice because he went straight downstairs. That would have been a difficult situation to explain.

Counting Sheep Will Not Help You Sleep
Samena Chaudhry Birmingham
Sleep researchers at Oxford University found that among a group of 50 people with insomnia those who were told to think of relaxing images fell asleep more than 20 minutes before they normally did. Those who tried “distraction” techniques, such as counting sheep, fell asleep even later than normal.

Allison Harvey from the department of experimental psychology at Oxford University suggested that relaxing images push away the worries that keep people awake, “Picturing an engaging scene takes up more brain space than the same dirty old sheep,” she told New Scientist magazine (2002;173:17). “Plus it’s easier to stay with it because it’s interesting,” she added.

One in ten people has chronic insomnia, which is thought to cost billions of pounds every year in sick days and accidents caused by tiredness.

Dr Harvey also found that people have been advised for many years to try to put their worries out of their heads to relax and get to sleep . Those who tried to suppress their worries take longer to fall asleep than those who let them run their course.

She said that this mirrors the classic psychological study called the “polar bear test” or “elephant test.” This involves telling someone not to think about polar bears or elephants. It has the opposite effect. The forbidden image immediately pops into the head. So the suppression technique is guaranteed to fail.


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