Got 2 minutes? Wake up refreshed: If you're having trouble catching zzz's, cover your alarm clock or cable box with a dark cloth. The glow can keep you from falling asleep easily, the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., reports.
-From "15 minutes to your best self" in Self-magazine.
John Smith, Bethesda, Maryland: "I guess it never occurred to me how much a little thing such as covering my alarm clock could really affect my sleeping habits. I mean, I thought getting three or four hours of sleep per night was average for workaholics. Besides, covering the light of my alarm clock has completely opened my eyes in the 'sleeping world'. I've found that my alarm clock light isn't the only thing that's keeping me from sleeping. The first night I planned to cover my clock, I was a little skeptical. So I decided to put aside the bills and paperwork and get to bed early for once, around 12 AM. I woke up almost 16 hours later. It was amazing! I felt so rejuvenated! Unfortunately, this effect only lasted for another day or two. I started to notice that other lights were keeping me from my sleep as well, like the streetlight outside my apartment. I had to call up the Town Hall and complain that the unnecessary brightness of the streetlights was robbing me of my sleep! Strangely, they hung up on me, and now they don't seem to be answering any of my phone calls or messages."
Ralph Roberts, Derry, Maine: "Several years ago, I was diagnosed with the sleep disorder known as insomnia. Although this disease had allowed me to catch up on several Stephen King novels that I had been dying to read, my mind and body began to suffer. Before I knew it, I began to see little men running around my house. I knew something had to be done. My friend, Lois, (a recovering insomniac and reader of Self-magazine) had suggested draping a cloth over my alarm clock; I thought, why not? Well, sleep has never tasted this good. My clinical insomnia is solved! I can sleep for at least 12 hours straight, and, as a seventy-year-old man, that's pretty darn good."
Anonymous: "Although this quote, in truth, is absolutely ridiculous, I've been making thousands off of it. I've come up with a new line of cloths used specifically to drape over an alarm clock. They are called 'Sleeping Beauties" and are made in a variety of choices, such as cotton, velvet, denim, or terry cloth. This high quality cloth is used to ensure that no light escapes from the clock, and that our customers get a good night's rest. In addition, the customer can have his or her initials monogrammed on the cloth with an additional charge of a small fee. Of course, people won't mind the costly price. Nowadays, people are willing to pay anything in order to increase their quality of sleep."
Hester Bateman, Silver Springs, Nevada: "Being a collector of antique silver spoons, I rarely have time for anything else. You can usually find me in the study, reading about the history of silversmiths, or in the kitchen, organizing my spoon collection. I usually do not have time for sleep. When I do have time, I am too afraid to sleep because I am worried that someone will break into my safe and steal my precious spoons. Nevertheless, my husband has tried multiple ways to get me to sleep like a 'normal human being', as he says. He has tried everything from reading me bedtime stories to putting sleeping pills in my coffee. He had just about called it quits when he was reading this months issue of Self-magazine. He read the "15 minutes to your best self" article, and suggested I try covering my alarm clock with a cloth. Then, he tried to convince me to use one of my spoon polishing cloths to put over the clock. In the end, we agreed to using a dishtowel. We did not wake up until suppertime. Now, I always cover my alarm clock at night. Currently, sleeping is my favorite hobby, and I rarely have time for anything else."
Dr. Sigmund Zeeze, M.D., head of the Insomnis Institute, Houston, Texas: "I'm always advising my patients to either unplug or drape a cloth over their alarm clock. Most of my patients are so oblivious to this known fact; I find that to be astonishing. At Insomnis Institute, we stress that having a healthy mind and a healthy body is vital in recovering from sleep disorders. However, the other part of recovery is admitting your insomnia. In fact, after checking yourself in at the Insomnis Institute of Houston, Texas, you get a free welcoming package, which includes a signed copy of my book, Sleeping for the Sleepless, a satin sleep mask, a plush alarm clock drape cloth, and a copy of Self-magazine (but, here, we call it the Bible)."
Demetrios "Demy" Hypnos, Troy, New York: "Personally, I don't mind that people are sleep deprived, due to the light from their alarm clock. I'm a waiter at the Athena Diner, and I make my tips mainly off of insomniacs coming in late at night. They walk in the door like zombies, with pale skin and bags under their eyes. Of course, I put my thoughts aside and remind myself that they will be paying for my rent. An insomniac customer generally orders about five cups of coffee - black, with at least six tablespoons of sugar - and maybe three or four of our jelly donuts. Occasionally, they will ask for an order of our Apple Pie a la Mode, with extra whipped cream."