Life is nothing to lose sleep over

Column by Craig Marshall Smith


If you want to lose weight, go to bed early. If you want to lose weight, stop being a night owl. Most of us are some kind of bird, either an early bird or a night owl. On average, apparently, night owls weigh more than early birds.

A recent study indicated that those of us who stay up late tend to snack, and not on alfalfa sprouts and a plate of mashed yeast. Night owls snack on chips and cookies and pies.

Right now I am both birds. Instead of a good night's sleep, I have become a serial napper. I sleep for a few hours and then get up and get busy. I have been seen at the grocery store at 2 a.m.

I took an Asian friend to dinner one evening and asked her what she was going to do later. She said, “Eat.”

She said that she ate, mostly noodle dishes, periodically throughout the day and night. I thought she was a straight-out loon.

Now I understand because that's the way I am sleeping. And it seems to be working. I have never been more productive.

I don't recommend it, however. I am able to do it because I am retired, and don't have to be at the office in the morning. If you have a day job and tried this, you'd be on the streets.

Television is different at 4 a.m. than it is at 4 p.m. Commercials last for 30 minutes instead of for three. It's how I met my vacuum cleaner. And my juicer. And my ladder.

There are other differences in the middle of the night. The streets are wide open. The brats in the neighborhood are tucked in bed. It's calm and quiet and serene.

I try to have my column written by the time the daily paper lands on the driveway. I write with the aid of coffee and read with the aid of coffee.

I have a good idea that my doctor would be against this, so I haven't told him. I have never heard anyone recommend serial napping.

You might be surprised how many merchants are open 24 hours a day, and what you can do. Of course you can get gas and a car wash. And just about anything else, like printer ink and weed killer and patio furniture, at grocery stores.

Grocery shopping is the best because I am there alone with the crew. They are emptying boxes everywhere, the shelves are being stocked, and I feel like I just won Shopper of the Week because I don't have to dodge Eight Is Enough.

After midnight my favorite station, KVOD, is non-stop music. There are no interviews, requests for car donations, operas, or abstract contemporary indeterminacy.

I am never in morning or afternoon rush hour, and the peace of mind in that is unsurpassable. I endured both when I was teaching, and arrived at school grumpy, and later in the day, arrived home grumpier. Those who know me see a changed man. “There goes the former Mr. Scrooge,” I heard someone say about me.

This arrangement gives me three days in one. We all feel the pressures of trying to get 30 hours of life into a 24-hour day. But not me. I get everything done without high anxiety. Without feeling like I am having a breakdown. Without feeling like I want to jump.

How long can this go on? I do not know. I do know that I never do the same thing over and over for very long. Some new method of coping with existence may occur to me next Wednesday.

I am awash with black coffee, the daily paper just arrived, and the first of my three-days-in-one is winding down. As good as it gets, and gets, and gets.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment