Pillow Talk
Off the Wall, February 5,

Darren Newhaufton, Pittsburgh, telephoned me one evening to bring to my attention something he heard on television recently. It had to do with what one thinks about before he goes to sleep at night. Not seeing the program, I wondered how many others were a bit baffled as was I. So, I put out a questionnaire to see if there was a lot of variation to my First Survey of the Year.

My question went like this – What do you think about as you are lying in bed waiting for the Sandman to escort you to dreamland or wherever you go when you doze off?

Terrence Terrenzo, Bloomers, Maryland, said, “I always imagine I am out in the woods or out on some mountain, toughing it out.”

Kathy Calmamile, Newton, Nebraska, answered as such, “Depends on the day. On a good day, I thank God. On others, I forget because I’m thinking if what happened and what did I do or worry about something.”

“All the things I did not get done,” Sarah Pillhof stated. Continuing, the Palo, Alto, California resident continued, “Everything that needs to be done.”

Put yourself in her shoes. Would any of us get to sleep at all if we thought about everything that still needed to be done? Unless we have a dozen man servants and a half-dozen woman servants would any of us sleep soundly knowing all the things that had to be accomplished the next day would be done to perfection, at least in my opinion.

Ever since retirement, people tell me, it is busier than ever on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes it’s so hectic, they have to postpone going to bed until later so they can work out strategies for the next days’ activities. Of course, if they do that, they are usually plowed under due to lack of sleep.

When Josephine Pagielowski, Herminie, got my email, it didn’t take her long at all to answer the question. I particularly liked her first phrase. “Not a difficult question at all…” I really didn’t think so, however, I was happy when one correspondent sent me some cyberspace mail stating, “I’m really going to have to think about this one…,” either way I was happy. If someone tells me “This one’s easy,” I usually get mail much quicker. On the other hand, when people tell me I am making them think, that’s the sole reason for my column, so it’s a win-win situation.

Josephine and Sarah have a lot in common (a pattern?). “I do a review of the day – thinking about what I did accomplish and what may have been left undone” Sound familiar? “I don’t emphasize the what I didn’t do, because, instead of inciting restfulness, it causes a bit of stress. Actually, it never takes me long to fall asleep unless I am worried or if something disquieting happened during the day,” Pagielowski said.

William Tenorosky, Pewsitter, Alabama, falls somewhat into this same pattern. “I think about what I will have to do tomorrow, will be able to get done, what happens if I don’t – typical anxiety, second, try to blank out everything – this usually doesn’t work, and third when I have trouble falling asleep, I make up a story, usually a romantic fantasy, or recall a pleasant memory and try to relive it in my mind. I never make it to the good part!”

Jill Hospenhatter stated, “My daughter-in-law has no respect for me,” The Hillside, New York, mother of three stated, “It makes it really hard to get to sleep sometimes thinking about her. Periodically, I wake up deliberating upon it and then I can’t get back to sleep.”

In essence, this is the type “pillow talk” the television personality was talking about. If one festers over stressful circumstances, allowing negativity to overtake one’s thoughts while waiting to go to sleep, he may end up with nightmares, restlessness or having the problem Jill seems to have on a continuous basis.

Sophia Goodhart, Muncie, Indiana, and I use similar strategies. “I thank God for all His blessings in my life, think about how blessed I am living in this country and thank Him for financial help when I am in need. Knowing God is listening is enough to place me into a restful sleep.”

The least I can do is thank and praise Him as I await my story hours of dreams. Each day He does so much for me, I want Him to know I appreciate it.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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