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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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A Shining Moment....

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Lately Iíve been hearing other people talk a lot about their personal sleep disorders. I confess I hadnít really thought much about sleep problems before. Just show me the bed and I can be cutting Z's in 15 minutes any time of the day or night. Now, however, Iíve found out that Iím not sleeping the correct way. Iím supposed to wait until bedtime to sleep so Iíll be tired and able to go to sleep through the night.

A sleep disorder is when we toss and turn and are unable to fall asleep, I figured. Everyone knows about drinking warm milk and doing the sheep counting routine to cure insomnia. Now, however, Iíve found out that insomnia is only one of many sleep disorders. There are others that are common, plus some that are not so common.

Insomnia is more than not being able to go to sleep in the first place, it is also waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep. Heck, that doesnít seem like a disorder to me. If it wasnít for waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing, Iíd never get my column written.

I decided to take a mini sleep quiz just to see if I needed to be concerned about sleep disorders. Canít be too careful with health. Wish I hadnít taken it, though. According to the quiz, Iíve got Ďem all.

First of all, I found that I have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when someone has difficulty breathing and may stop breathing for several seconds many times a night. Often this is accompanied by snoring. One of the questions on the quiz was, "Have you ever been told that you snore?" Well, yes, I have. Iíve never heard myself snore, though, and I donít really believe that I do.

I also have narcolepsy. This is when someone cannot stay awake, even in social situations. "Do you ever fall asleep at inappropriate times?" asks the quiz. "Do you sometimes feel sleepy even when youíve had enough sleep?" The true narcoleptic can fall asleep anytime, even at a movie or at a party. Obviously, writers of the quiz have not heard some of the sermons Iíve heard at church if they expect me to stay awake at on Sunday morning.

Okay, that covers sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy. Whatís left? Restless leg syndrome? Yes, I have that one too, tingling in the legs so that you feel you have to move them. You mean some people lay perfectly still all night and never have to turn over or move to a more comfortable position? Iím not dreaming that Iím a Radio City Rockette and kicking like Iím in a chorus line or anything. I always thought my legs had gone to sleep from lack of movement. I hadnít really thought of it as a sleep disorder until now.

I never knew what a sick person I am. "If you think you have a sleep disorder, see a doctor regardless of the outcome of the quiz," says the article. Gee, should I be worried? Now Iíll be awake all night wondering how I can be possibly be sleeping when I have so much wrong with me.

Actually, people need to get an adequate amount of sleep in order to be able to function, at least thatís the story Iím going to use. I think Iíll just stick with my old habit of catching Zs when I can. I believe there is a name for people who think they have every illness they hear of.

Now, if you donít mind, could we continue this discussion later? Iím starting to feel sleep deprived and itís time for my power nap.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss

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