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Things I've Learned - Sleep on It

By Bill D. Ward


Today’s Wisdom: “It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” — John Steinbeck


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My wife and I recently spent an evening playing cards with two other couples. As is typical, we got onto the topic of the aches, pains, recent surgeries and health struggles of ourselves and others we know. One of the ladies noted that a relative was currently trying the new stem cell procedure on a knee. It is actually quite a marvel what is happening with that technology.


The conversation moved on and eventually settled on a condition that men often encounter later in life. I’m not quite sure how we got there. Someone wondered if that might be the next field for transplants, which brought a chuckle. I suggested perhaps stem cell therapy might work there.

The group cracked up, and I feared the gal beside me might fall on the floor. She just lost it. As the other five were consumed in their laughter for a minute, I just sat there thinking, “What did they hear that is so funny? I don’t get it.”


We called it a night and headed home to bed. At 4 a.m. I woke suddenly, having had a great revelation. I started laughing. My wife woke from the shaking of the bed and, somewhat irritated, asked what I was laughing about. I told her, “I just got my joke. Stem cell therapy.” Ok, maybe you had to be there. I know I am getting slow, but come on. Seven hours to get a joke I told myself?


One of the things I have learned is that our brain does some amazing work while we sleep. When I was working, it was usual to wake up at night with a solution to a problem I was dealing with. Perhaps clearing the brain of daily business allows it to work more efficiently. Whatever the reason, I learned it is wise to put off major decisions until sleep had a chance to mull the issue over.


I’m a little worried though. My brain is not handling memory as well as it used to. There is a risk that, rather than solving a problem, I might just forget it. Actually, I guess I’m good either way. I’m just sayin.’

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