February 28, 2005


Anemia is no fun. I have to tell you. The best part of having it is that it makes sleep so damned enjoyable. Sleep becomes about the best thing you've ever ever seen/heard/tasted/felt/smelled. Everything about sleep is cotton-filled wondrous. My hair follicles love sleep; my toe nails love sleep. I love sleep. I am sleep.

I have some advice, from personal experience, on how to leverage your anemia to achieve high-value sleep. Really--we're talking about Sleep ROI here. Even healthy people can benefit from these tried-and-true techniques.

Let's start with the pillow. You'll need a cool cotton pillow case, queen-size, ivory, and, okay I'll be honest here, the one I'm talking about here is one of the seven I took while living at the Residence Inn in Buckhead when I first came down to Atlanta to start my job. I lived there for three months, on the company's dime, one month by myself, one with two dogs, and one with two dogs a husband. This was before we found a place to rent, which wasn't easy considering we moved here in 1994 on the eve of the Olympics, kind of like everyone else.

Anyway, back to the pillow cases, I didn't mean so much to take them, it's just that living across two states 1000 miles apart with boxes and suitcases and laundry all askew, things find their way into your "keeper" pile. You know? Especially things you like.

So, there are those pillow cases. And of course, semi-firm pillows.

And you should know, I don't use one pillow. Or two. I have the annoying habit of sleeping on no less than five pillows. I'm like the Pillow version of the Princess and the Pea. One goes under my arm, one goes upright between the wall and the primary pile of pillows, and 2 to 3 pillows are stacked for an "elevated" effect. Then, of course, there's one on the side for balance. Most nights I get away with this, whether there are one, two, or three of us in the bed.

Pillow Hoarding Is My Birthright. Deal With It.

But back to me and anemia and how wonderful sleep feels...

You've got to have 100-percent cotton sheets too. In the winter, go for flannel. As for bed coverings, I'm a texture-sensitive anemic--I prefer corduroy or that new fool-me mock suede or some version of thick cotton weave. I am a comforter/duvet-cover freak. I buy them, I use them, I take them off, I send them downstairs to the wash, and I move on in my search for The Perfect Coverlet.

Let's also consider lighting. As an anemic, I sometimes enjoy an afternoon nap. There is an art to waking up without feeling suicidal--that is, to keep the blinds half open and to make sure you wake up before it gets dark. That's getting easier now that it's no longer getting dark at 2 in the afternoon. The continuity of light (or dark as the case may be) is essential to avoid that "OH NO--I've Wasted The Day!" feeling, even if, in fact, you have wasted the day.

Now, let's talk alarm clocks. The essential anemic alarm clock is one with a nap function built in. I can set my nap for 10 minutes or 2 hours without having to change my daily 6:00 a.m. alarm that I have to deal with in order to get Jenna to school. In addition to the nap button, I love my GE Alarm Clock's "GraduWake" (yes, that's for real) alarm feature--instead of jolting me out of bed, graduwake fools me awake, teases me with a soft beep beep that works its way into a full-scale wail if I let it. The best thing about GraduWake is that you can completely ignore it!

ONE WORD: Sleepwear. If you choose to wear any, silk or cotton works best. Silk feels the best against the cotton sheets, and allows you to roll about as you wish without crimping or sticking--but in the summer, grab the clothes-free option. The cool feel of the cotton against your skin makes you feel almost healthy. Note to women: Shave your legs for optimum enjoyment.

Dream Approach: Go no-stress. Rid your mind of anyone who is an ex anything. Rid your mind of work and studies. Think COTTON, COTTON, and nothing but COTTON.

Heat/Air Conditioning: 68-74. Period.

Humidifier: Yes in winter months.

Now, with all of this information, you can do one of two things: Go shopping for the right apparel and linens or GO TO SLEEP.

I vote for number 2.