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Every parent who has had a teenage son or daughter will attest to the fact that their children’s sleeping habits, especially on non-school days, can best be described with these two words: endless and oblivious.

Endless because once they do go to sleep, which may be at a very odd hour, adolescents tend to stay that way for at least the next 12 to 14 hours. Oblivious because during that sleep time they are immune to earthquakes, fire alarms, explosions, and most certainly a parent’s call for them to wake up.

Many parents I know have confessed that this teenage phenomenon is, at best, irritating. It disrupts weekend and holiday household routines and it offends a basic law of nature: 2 PM in the afternoon is NOT the time to be having breakfast. Parents of teenagers also will testify that if you pester the slumbering daughter or son before they have consumed the aforementioned 2 PM breakfast, you will probably receive the infamous “what is your problem” stare.

Frustrating? Yes. Irritating? Almost always. Why?

Parents are jealous.

I have discovered that one sign that you are getting older is a change in sleeping habits. You also may need a change of mattress as your body requires more comfort as it ages, this is where The Must Read Guide to Luxury Mattresses is a necessity for all of those who are tossing and turning most nights due to their uncomfortable mattress. On a recent Friday night, I returned to my downtown loft after a four-day/three-city business trip. My wife was away spoiling the grandchildren in Connecticut. I was exhausted, but enjoying the immensely satisfying thought that I had absolutely no commitments until a dinner engagement Saturday night. I could sleep as long as I wanted. Perfection!

It was an ideal night for sleeping. It was cold — the temperature was in the high 30s and a steady rain was falling. Fresh sheets, great sleeping weather, no morning commitments, and no pressing work that I needed to do: this scenario was almost too good to be true.

It was. I still woke up at my normal time at 5:30 AM. As I sat in my study, sipping coffee and waiting for the morning papers — waking up before the newspapers are delivered is really added insult to injury — I remembered the days of my youth when I could sleep until 1 or 2 PM, glare at my parents, eat breakfast and feel wonderfully refreshed.

I was jealous.

2012 John Gregory Self

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