Friday, August 6, 2010


It wasn’t especially early in the morning. In fact, the sun had been up for at least five hours. But there sat George, in the corner booth of the restaurant, unashamedly pandiculating in front of everyone.

Wait. What? Pandiculating?

Yes, pandiculating. It means stretching while yawning. (And yes, this is the first I’d heard of the word as well, but you’d be surprised at what you can learn from those word-a-day calendars).

But back to George’s pandiculating. He would yawn and stretch this way. Then he would yawn again and stretch that way. He would tightly shrug his shoulders up toward his ears, and you could hear his bones or joints or thoughts softly cracking. (I suppose it was his joints that were cracking, since cracking a bone would be undoubtedly painful and thoughts cracking would most likely be silent.)

He did this for about fifteen minutes before he settled down to quietly read his morning paper and drink his coffee.

And as fascinating as it was to watch George’s pandiculation, it was equally fascinating to watch the others in the diner yawn shortly after seeing George yawn, although they did so without the accompanying stretches.

As George was leaving, I told him I noticed how much he was yawning and asked him if he’d had a “late night” or something. He admitted that for the past week he had only been getting about three or four hours a night for sleep. He also told me he was planning to “sleep the weekend away.”

I envied the possibility of sleeping away a weekend.

More importantly, I decided that getting “enough” sleep should be a priority in life. Especially since not getting enough can lead to all sorts of problems, from weight gain to aging prematurely to loss of concentration. In fact, sleep deprivation can be so extreme that it can even lead to death.

So here’s a suggestion for us all. Get at least 7 or 8 hours of good sleep most nights. That’s typically enough for the average American. (And yes, despite what the self-esteem gurus espouse, you’re most likely “average.” Unless, of course, you’re part of the Eclectic Family, then you’re quite higher than “average.”)

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