Get Some Sleep, Will You?

By Leigh Anne Jasheway
NABBW’s Boomer Humor Expert

I have a theory that worrying about how to look young ages you. Last week, for example, I read an article on how to stay young-looking, and among the usual advice – eat well, exercise, don’t squint while reading articles on how to stay young-looking – was this tip, which has caused me to lose sleep for four days in a row :

Don’t sleep on your side. You’ll add fine lines and wrinkles to that one side. Not only will you look older than if you sleep on your back, you’ll look lopsided.

Oh, perfect! Now not only do I have to expend energy thinking about what length and style of hair will cut age me, whether bright floral prints make me look young and hip or like someone’s grandmother, how often I should wax my peach-fuzz of a moustache, and how to get the flax seeds out of my gums, I also have to train myself to sleep on my back? I feel five years older already.

I’ve always been “curled on my side in the fetal position” type of sleeper. It like it because as long as I sleep with my legs pointing towards the north-facing wall, all I have to do to make my twice-nightly trips to the bathroom is slide out of bed. No rolling over is required, which is good because I don’t want to awaken the menagerie that occupies the rest of the bed because they’ll hound me until I feed them breakfast – even if it is only 2 a.m. I’ve also found that curling on my side saves my stomach from being used as a mini-trampoline by my 23-lb. dachshund as he springs from one edge of the mattress to the other during his morning happy dance.

But now, in the interest in appearing youthful, I’m supposed to give all this up and sleep on my back? Before I do, I need to have a number of questions answered to my satisfaction:

If I can’t sleep on my back (it’s never worked for me in the past), would my next best option be propping myself up in a doorway? Or would I just end up wrinkle-free, but with my boobs moving several states further south? Should I instead try strapping myself by the ankles and hanging from the closet rod? I’ve always admired bats for their ability to sleep like this. And they never look old.

What if I start off on my back, but roll back on my side during my sleep? Is there some kind of device to gently nudge me back into the preferred snoozing position? A mini-electrical shock, say, or one of those extreme tire damage-type of devices?

If I lie on my back, but one of my dogs decides to splay his or her sleeping form over my eyebrows, will this add to my wrinkles or will it be like a mini-facelift all night long? I could, if I trained them, get them to sleep on my hair, thus yanking my face taut all night. But what if I snored loudly (which I’ve been told I do by humans with whom I’ve slept) and it scares the dogs and they attempt to disentangle from my hair too quickly? Wouldn’t the bald spots age me?

Will the additional abdominal toning I would undoubtedly get from being used as a trampoline make up for the lack of shut-eye I’ll probably endure if I attempt to become a back sleeper? Can’t I just stick with side sleeping and smooth more anti-aging night cream on my face (and neck and chest and shoulders and arms and duodenum…) before retiring to bed to keep my face from sticking to my pillow and creating extra lines? Or do I need a Teflon pillow? And where might I purchase one?

Personally, I think that losing sleep over worrying about what may or may not make you look your age will make you grumpy and friendless. I’m going to stick with my laugh lines and crows feet and sleep in the position that is most comfortable and protects me from leaping wiener dogs. I recommend you do the same.

Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H. is a stress management and humor expert who helps women and men manage stress, embrace change, and become healthier by learning to lighten up. She speaks at 50-60 conferences and workshops every year and has been a national Speaking of Women’s Health and Healthy Woman keynoter. She’s a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). Learn more about her at her website. Leigh Anne’s new book,Confessions of a Semi-Natural Woman (a collection of 99 of her funniest humor columns from the past ten’ish years – including the one that won the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition – is now available at www.accidentalcomic.com) She also has  a new blog. Of if she says,  If you go there and like what you see, you can subscribe by clicking the subscribe button (who knew?)”

Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H. is a stress management and humor expert who helps women and men manage stress, embrace change, and become healthier by learning to lighten up. She speaks at 50-60 conferences and workshops every year and has been a national Speaking of Women's Health and Healthy Woman keynoter. She's a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH)