Ken Hoffman wakes up to discover he's been sleeping wrong all this time — and so have you
I’m used to people telling me that I do everything wrong every waking hour.
Now they’re saying I don’t sleep right, too?
In the past month, I’ve read separate articles saying my sleeping habits are dumb, they’re wrecking my health, making me a sleep-deprived zombie and not exactly helping my personal relationships. Poor sleeping habits could be the reason I may not be the lovable, good guy I think I am.
I see these articles all the time. How I peel a banana wrong (should start at the bottom). How I eat Cheetos wrong (should use chopsticks). How I dunk Oreo cookies in milk wrong (should stab a fork in the creamy filling).
You know what I’m really doing wrong? Wasting time reading articles telling me to eat Cheetos with chopsticks so my fingers don’t turn orange. Yeah, that wouldn't look stupid.
Let’s take my bad sleeping habits one at a time.
I like to sleep with a fan blowing on me. I don’t mean a gentle ceiling fan. I’m talking a three-speed, oscillating Target fan going full blast — twisting and turning to whoosh air all over me. Even though the fan is right on top of me, I use a remote to turn it on and off. I’m lazy. I know a guy, Ralph. I helped him set up a TV next to his bed, on a chair that’s turned around. He can reach out and touch it. He still uses a remote to change channels.
Supposedly, here’s why I shouldn’t have a fan blowing on me at night. The fan could dry up my mouth and nasal passages. I don’t sleep with my mouth open, that’s weird, and a really bad look. A fan could shake up dust in my bedroom and aggravate allergies. There could be something to that. I have a pesky cough a few times a year. A fan could cause leg cramps (definitely) and give me a stiff neck when I wake up (happens all the time).
Will I stop running a fan on me at night? Nope.
I like to sleep with the TV or radio on all night. If I miss an Astros game on TV, I’ll play it back on DVR when I go to bed. I’ll watch the all-night news. I never get tired of Curb Your Enthusiam and The Office marathons. Impractical Jokers reruns are on TruTV 24/7. I’ll listen to Jim Cornette and Michael Rapaport podcasts. They’re hilarious. Late night sports talk is always my fallback.
One thing’s for sure, I can not sleep in a dark, silent room. I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. You want to hear a funny story? Ask radio talk host Sean Pendergast about the time we did the BP MS 150 charity bike ride and had to share a hotel room with a guy who said “goodnight,” got out of his bed and turned off our TV. The look of terror on Sean’s face …
Darkness is your friend
Here’s why I shouldn’t have the TV or radio on all night.
Sleepy time and TV should not mix. TV stimulates the brain and makes it hard for me to fall asleep. The artificial blue light coming from a TV plays havoc with my brain’s production of melatonin. Hold on, TV stimulates the brain? Jimmy Fallon’s fake laughter is stimulating? Stephen Colbert’s one trick pony is stimulating? Kimmel’s cool, though. But after midnight, live TV is awful. They just give up.
Here’s the big one. I let my dog Lilly (half-cocker, half-dachshund, half-whatever) sleep on the bed. I like it. She likes it. When I’m in the bathroom checking my look in the mirror (Bruce Springsteen), she’s already in bed, already asleep. This part is amazing. If I accidentally nudge her when I slip in bed, she growls like I’m a escaped murderer about the wipe out everybody in the house. Sometimes I have to wind my body around her, so I don’t wake her up. I’m dangling halfway off the bed and she's sprawled out on her back, legs straight up. That’s what we do for our dogs.
But here’s the deal, and I’m talking to you, Lilly. I rescued you out of the Citizens for Animal Protection shelter. You were a stray without a collar, wandering the streets in west Houston. For 15 years (15 years!), I’ve fed you better food than I eat myself, walked you, picked up your poop, taken you to the vet, put in a dog door so you have free run of the backyard … and you growl at me because I’ve disturbed you for 10 seconds of the 20 hours you sleep a day? How about a little gratitude?
And get this. Sometime in the middle of the night, Lilly will have enough of me, and she jumps off and sleeps under my bed. She leaves me, just like that. You know, guys catch grief if they wait for the other person to fall asleep and leave. Lilly does it to me every night. I’m an enabler. I don’t care, she’s so cute.
Here’s why I shouldn’t let a dog sleep on my bed. Dogs toss and turn and snore and wake up the human next to them. Dogs may not be the cleanest people in the world. Dogs could stir up any allergies I may have.
Bottom line: Lilly stays, and I’ll stop reading those articles saying I do everything wrong. For a guy who does everything wrong, I'm doing alright.
Do you enjoy sleeping with your TV on, a fan, or your dog — or all three? Let Ken know in the comments or on Twitter.