Giving Sleep The Slip


June 30, 1991|By Elizabeth Large

A. M. Chaplin says that she demonstrated true reportoria involvement in this week's cover story on sleep. She got a two-week-long attack of insomnia while she was doing it, during which she felt, as every insomniac does, godawful. "I consoled myself," she says, "with deeply resentful thoughts about certain individuals who have the bad taste to sleep soundly while their spouses toss and turn miserably for hours."

A. M. takes some small pleasure in pointing out the rotten sleep habits of sleep researchers. Her favorite is sleep-medicine specialist Dr. David Buchholz, neurological consultant to the Hopkins sleep lab, who, when she asked him about his own nTC sleeping habits, said, "I hoped you weren't going to ask that." (He averages around six hours a night.)

Her next favorite was Dr. Mary A. Carskadon, member of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, who paused for a moment and then said gamely, "I slept well last night." She went on to explain that sleep researchers' work often requires them to stay up all night to watch other people sleep, and that many of them are also the driven, high-achiever type that tends ** to skimp on sleep anyway.

Not all, however, break their own rules. On the local scene, Dr. Thomas E. Hobbins, director of the Maryland Sleep Diagnostic Center, sleeps about 8 1/2 hours every night. And on the national scene, Dr. William C. Dement is said to insist on eight hours a night -- and he's the chairman of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, not to mention one of the founding fathers of sleep disorders medicine.

So there you are. Do as they do or do as they say. Good night to all, and to all a good night.

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