Journal entry: September 2, 2008 (age 39) – Slumber Techniques
It’s 3:12 a.m., and I can’t sleep. So instead, I’m going to wax insomniac on ways to improve the common human experience of slumber.
Problem: In many ways, sleeping on your side is the way to go. It cuts down on snoring, while encouraging cuddling. But an extraneous arm is always in the way. That arm desperately wants to be under your head and a pillow pile, but you always have to tell it, “No, Arm, I can’t put you there, because the weight of my head is going to cut off your circulation and wake me up in an hour with an unpleasant combination of aching muscles, numbness, and either a burning tingling or a tingling burning, neither of which is an adjective-gerund pairing that I feel comfortable with.”
Solution: Every mattress and box spring should have a hole that allows your arm to dangle and rest on the floor when you are sleeping on your side. An even more ergonomic bed might, on command, split into two parts: a smaller, higher, more cushioned section for the head, and a larger, lower, firmer section for the rest of the body (from the armpit down).
Problem: An opening for wayward limbs is also lacking in most headboards and footboards, and the problem is compounded when the boards are made of metal. Nothing ruins a good sleep like sudden contact between a cold, brass rail and a footfull of defenseless tootsies.
Solution: Decapitating the bed frame to produce a headboardless bed is one partial remedy. Reconfiguring witch-trial stocks into headboards could provide ready-made arm holes, as well as a soul-strengthening dose of penance. Constructing a footboard out of heated gelatin could create a feet-friendly environment. I’d also like to note that it would soothe the minds of countless, emotionally unstable grammarians like myself if Merriam-Webster changed the plural form of “footboard” to “feetboard.”
Problem: No matter what position you sleep in, some parts of the body are not optimally aligned to maximize comfort and health.
Solution: Some kind of slumber chamber seems like the Holy Grail of sleep technology. It could be a zero-gravity vacuum, or a tank filled with water. The best solution would be a chamber that could be filled with your choice of, well, solution. Maybe tonight you’ll be in a warm honey kind of mood. Perhaps tomorrow night you’d like to be held aloft by a humid, geothermal updraft. Or how about catching some z’s while immersed in cinnamon oatmeal?
Problem: Alarm clocks wake up everybody in the room, including those who don’t need to get up.
Solution: Alarms that could be sensed only by the intended person could be designed in many ways. One sci-fi approach would be to implant programmable neurons that gradually wake up your central nervous system at a requested time. A nice add-on would be a feedback system that would give you the option to delay waking if the body is in the middle of REM sleep.
I am starting to make very little sense. It would help if I could get some sleep…which may…happen soomfklsd’: