Wanted: Forty More Winks

A Shock to Our Systems

Do you live where Daylight Saving Time has gone into effect recently? If so, today you may feel out of sync, sleep-deprived. The loss of even one hour of sleep pushes one’s biorhythms out of kilter.


Who’s to Blame: Daylight Saving Time

In the wee hours of Sunday clocks moved forward one hour, delaying sunrise and adding evening daylight. According to one source, a New Zealander proposed the modern idea of DST in 1895. Germany followed in 1916. Many other country since then have followed the spring ahead/fall behind routine, especially since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

The time change has been loved or hated ever since. My author friend Janet Givens provides a well-researched blog post on the topic. Her research explodes the myth that Daylight Saving Time is supported by farmers.


Sleep: A Cure

Medical journals including Psychology Today, often publish articles about sleep or the lack thereof. Such pieces also regularly appear in the table of contents of women’s magazine and AARP journals.

Literature is replete with references to sleep. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, who has recently murdered King Duncan, knows his sleep will be troubled or interrupted even as he ruefully ticks off its benefits:

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care / The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath / Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Act 2, Scene ii

  • Sleep repairs the unraveled parts of our lives, knits them up.
  • Sleep comes at the end of the day; it looks like a little death.
  • Sleep brings bodily relief from pain as do baths.
  • Sleep refreshes the mind.
  • Sleep is essential to life. We can’t do without it.

In Search of Forty Winks, Patricia Marx comments:

. . . party and then firing the cleanup committee. The New Yorker, February 8, 2016
 party and then firing the cleanup committee. (The New Yorker, February 8, 2016. pages 56. 57)


Ben Franklin and the Bible on Sleep

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.   ~ Benjamin Franklin

The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.     ~ Eccl. 5:1


Sleeping Child

Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8
Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8 or 9

Our son Joel was fast asleep embracing his teddy bear knitted by his Great Aunt Ruthie. He may have been dreaming of riding his skate board or playing with match-box cars. As a nine-year-old, he was certainly not worrying about caring for children, the needs of a wife, mortgage payments, or at-work performance.

Wordsworth offers a philosophical perspective on sleep:

Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest
Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest


Here is the first stanza of a nursery rhyme Joel probably heard before he fell asleep:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,

Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,

Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?



Comments about sleep, advice about getting more of it?  Your wisdom welcome here. All creatures need down time, even inanimate ones. Note that there is a sleep button on your computer, just above re-start.


Answer key to limericks published March 9, 2016 

1. lewd

2. dinner

3. divinity

4. weeds



52 thoughts on “Wanted: Forty More Winks

  1. This post is chock full of information. I am not a fan of DST (or the change back to standard). I’ve been sleeping a bit later, but it’s still dark when I get up now.
    I will “do a Marian” and leave you with an appropriate quote for today from Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sleep is a love letter to our souls. Dreams are the stories our souls whisper to us in the night. Sleep is a sweet, necessary adventure.
    Lovely post. I memorized Macbeth’s words on sleep many years ago and mumble it to myself when I’m tired. But Wordsworth’s lines? Ahh, they are priceless and golden. Sleep sends us briefly to that immortal place from whence we came. That’s what I think.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’ve actually felt more energized since changing the clocks, Marian. I guess it’s the extra daylight hours, along with warmer temperatures that have allowed me to be outside more. As for advice on getting more sleep, I have nothing. My body clock seems to only allow for 6 hours a night…I try for more, but it never happens. What a sweet picture of Joel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to stay up late that was the time that I had time to myself. To unwind catch up on laundry house work and movies. My body no longer allows me those crazy thoughts now I go up to my bed, relax my mind and sleep. I find that I’m a happier person. I’ve alwayas put my children to bed early but because of health more for me. They are still in the habit to go straight up by 7:00 and lights out at 9:00. Now I do the same. I love it. Thanks for this post. We need the reminder of precious sleep. I’m trying to work in naps. It hasn’t happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Up to bed by 7:00 and lights out by 9:00 sounds like a miracle to me. As we age, we have to invent a new normal, I think. You seem to be finding yours. Thanks for sharing here as always, Gloria.


      1. Not by choice I have to get into habit. We’re opening a cafe in July and plan to open at five in the morning. So I have to start sleeping early to get up early at four to be exact. Yes I’m always on a journey.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes thank you first Puerto Rican and Cuban food. Busy with architect and city to and board of health hope to open July 1St. Nikki is going to law school. So many great things leave to California end of month for Omanis visit to college. Yes a lot of good and crazy. Lol

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Since I’ve retired, in my new world it rarely matters what time it is. LOL! But seriously, in Florida, because of our southern location, the lengths of our days remain relatively consistent throughout the year. We don’t benefit from DST and it’s a hassle to change the clocks. Other Floridians agree! In December 2015 House Bill 893 was introduced to keep Florida on DST year round, but it died in subcommittee on 3/11/16.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, thank you for keeping me up to date with state politics here. I wonder two things: why the bill “died” in the subcommittee and when the bill can be re-introduced. It happens all the time with other issues, why not one that affects the entire population.


  6. Marian, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep as your well-researched post teaches us. It is a precious commodity, especially as we age. Power napping during the day has become my new best friend! It’s amazing how even a one-hour change can throw us off. Thanks for another refreshing and informative post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I echo your comment about napping. I try to recline in a quiet, dark room for at least 20 minutes in the afternoon. But it seldom happens.

      A writing coach I know says he even puts on pajamas to induce an afternoon nap and wakes refreshed. Some time ago the Huffington Post published a list of famous people who napped. Included among them were Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Eleanor Roosevelt: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/14/famous-nappers-historical_n_423279.html?slideshow=true#gallery/4399/7


  7. BST hasn’t arrived here yet, I think it is over the Easter holidays, but I enjoy the tighter evenings, so I am not complaining.
    Many years ago, whilst still a student and had problems sleeping, I bought a book on Yoga, breathing and relaxing exercises, which helped me enormously and still use it now from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have always loved daylight savings time. It has never bothered me, it is just like flying into another time zone that´s all. And I love the extra hour of sunlight, a small price to pay. We don´t change our clocks here in Spain until March 27 so I have to adjust my Skyping times for a couple of weeks. Enjoy the extra sun!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The period of life when I minded the time change the worst was when our children were young–and their bodies of course stayed on whatever time they had been on for at least a couple days.

    But I loved your Wee Willy Winky quote–one of our favorite bedtime poems and larger book, and was startled to see that the book we always read it in, put THAT bedtime as two hours earlier!
    This is how our version went:
    Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
    Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
    Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
    Are the children in their bed, for now it’s eight o’clock.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh Marian,what a rosy picture you paint for me.First I have BST on 27th to come and then because I get anything from 1 to 4 hours sleep a night I have Alzheimer’s to look forward to.Without my odd little power naps I think I’d really be in trouble.
    I hope you’ve adjusted now and are enjoying the early light in the mornings. Joey is and keeps squawking to let me know it’s time to open his cage door.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I long for that uninterrupted sleep of my childhood! We have recently changed our clocks here in Manitoba. It doesn’t seem to have made anything worse for me.Thanks for the beautiful reminder of Wordsworth. Inspires me to go back to some of his other writing..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “To sleep? Perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub.”

    I don’t have a passionate opinion about DST. But I love when I wake up without having had any interruptions after at least seven hours. Almost as good, and as rare, as when my babies finally got to that point.

    Have good traveling today, Marian, and a wonderful week. I’ll be sending Carol and Mary to you from here in Harrisonburg.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I smile at your reference to sleep patterns at various stages of our lives. We used to get a rude awakening from grandchildren when they were very young and had sleepovers with us. Now the older ones sleep longer. Thank the Lord!

      Yes, we are thankful for smooth travels today and looking forward to Carol and Mary making six. Just moments ago we were discussing how best to utilize our evenings together. You, of course, are missed.


  13. Marian – I’m one of those people who LOVES my sleep! Before getting into bed I enjoy two things: a hot cuppa Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra, and a calcium tablet (calcium is nature’s sedative). Once I’m in bed, I put earplugs in my ears, and put on an eye mask. Then I drift off to Never Never Land. Much like a bear, if I’m disturbed during “hibernation,” I’m quite disgruntled (just ask Len)…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very interesting, Marian. I wasn’t aware of all the DST details, but both of farmer uncles hated it for many reasons. Our local news “Medical Message” warned that there are more heart attacks on the morning of “springing forward” (less sleep) than normal. They also said to begin two days before the change, going to bed 15 minutes early, and continue that pattern for two days after in an attempt to “even” it out. I just know that our puppy Scout went on as though nothing had happened. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Along with heart attacks I have heard that they are more car accidents after the time change than usual. Drivers haven’t gotten enough sleep + it would be much darker in the morning making them more accident prone too.

      Good observations, Marylin. Early Tuesday morning I had to get up at 4:00 am to catch a flight, so I really feel out of whack! 😒


  15. A fascinating post Marian. I suppose there are different perspectives about the daylight savings. For me, I’ve had such an exhaustive 2 weeks, that the turning of the clock ahead was quite untimely and my body felt robbed of an essential hour. I think as the weeks pass we adapt better, and certainly the light lasting longer at the end of the day is welcomed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love that Shakespeare quote , I can remember emailing it to my sister when the lack of sleep had become unbearable .
    It’s weird but everyone in our family , as a child , had problems with sleep . It’s a wonder we didn’t all meet each other in the wee hours …but we never did . In some ways I find sleep deprivation a blessing because it’s ‘MY’ time for reading , writing , being .
    We have our hour stolen next week , just as I am getting used to the delightful early mornings of light and ‘THEY’ pinch it in the morning and give back in the evening annoying .
    I think in the winter , way up in the highlands of Scotland , they are desperate for the extra hour in the evening , it all works in the end like most things 🌷🌷🌷🌷
    I love the Robert Frost quote too from Merrild👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With your busy days, I imagine your mind craves “relief” through reading and meditating even if it interferes with sleep sometimes. Yes, it all works out in the end.

      As it happens, I am on a writers’ retreat with Merril, and I can show her your comment personally. How neat is that! 🙂

      You have a delightful way of choosing words: “they pinch it in the morning and give back in the evening.” Clever! Thanks, Cherry!


  17. I’m glad to say I usually sleep well. If I’m keyed up, meditation usually works to quiet me down so I can go to sleep. I’m sure you know this poem by Rumi, Marian. It’s a treat.

    For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
    From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
    Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
    Then I walked outside.

    The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
    Don’t go back to sleep.
    You must ask for what you really want.
    Don’t go back to sleep.
    People are going back and forth across the door sill
    where the two worlds touch.
    The door is round and open.
    Don’t go back to sleep.


    1. If I’m over-stimulated like now surrounded by so many creative people, sometimes it’s hard to let my mind relax. I meditate or listen to soothing music on my pillow, which usually does the trick.

      No, I hadn’t read this poem by Rumi. My take on it just now: The urging “Don’t go back sleep” may give the psyche permission to fall into sleep simply because of the contrary notion. It is a treat – and thank you!

      I hope by now you have some distance from your intense workshop last week and can reflect with a sense of accomplishment and joy. 🙂


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