Get enough sleep — or else

Published 11:59 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

by Danny Tyree

Let’s face it: the only thing more pathetic than hosting a pity party is having to shoo the visitors away from your pity party by 7 p.m.

Because of various commitments and interests, I am fortunate if I am in bed six hours a night. (Let’s not even talk about QUALITY of sleep.) I am made to feel like a masochistic idiot every time I see one of those ubiquitous “Stop skating by on minimal sleep” articles.

To add insult to injury, reports that one of the reasons millennials are so successful is that they average eight hours and 53 minutes of sleep (as opposed to slightly more than seven hours for most older adults). My inner “grumpy old man” jealously snorts that they achieve this luxury by not having to shop for bathroom air fresheners, if you know what I mean.

I run a long-term sleep deficit even while living a relatively charmed life. I’m only 10 minutes away from work and have a household with no major medical problems. I shudder to think about the discretionary hours remaining for people who spend two hours a day commuting and/or deal with special needs family members.

The Huffington Post warned that people getting only six hours of sleep a night can be plagued by angry outbursts, overeating, overspending, a haggard appearance and a generally blah feeling. Other sources cite a sleep deficit as contributing to poor academic performance, memory lapses, Type 2 diabetes, the sudden full-blown emergence of the twin you absorbed while in the womb, etc.

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that sleep deprivation makes people 4.5 times more likely to sign a false confession. That’s a bunch of hooey, and I told the same thing to Jimmy Hoffa as I threw the first shovelful of dirt into his face.

In an infamous 1986 “Saturday Night Live” skit, William Shatner popularized the “Get a life!” slogan. But sleep researchers would just as soon you took only the daintiest nibble of what life has to offer. Don’t have a hobby, perform household chores, write to your congressman, take a night class, go to the gym, attend a PTO meeting, rise above the poverty level with a second job, write the Great American Novel, learn a second language, attend worship services, visit a nursing home, care for aging parents or do anything that detracts from the pattern “Work, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat…”

If you really want to stay guilt free, that bed had better be 99 percent dedicated to slumbering. Instead of “Honey, put on your Naughty Librarian outfit,” you’d better specify, “Honey, put on your Naught Librarian With A Timer outfit.”

Those who editorialize about sleep deficits condescendingly tell us to keep a stiff upper lip and make a few simple tweaks and sacrifices — presumably, chitchatting less with our butler, chef, maid, personal shopper and nanny.

I’d love to grab 40 winks after uploading this column; but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

I understand that there’s a poem to that effect — but the Sleep Police would undoubtedly give me a guilt trip if I stayed up five minutes later to read it.

“You’re not sleeping enough! I still don’t have grandchildren photos for the mantel! And your newborn twin brother just passed the bar exam!”


Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.