How much sleep would you say you get on an average night? Six hours. Perhaps eight hours. Maybe 10 hours.

Obviously the answer to my question hinges on a number of factors. If your neighbor's dog did not get the memo regarding the appropriate time to bark during the course of a day, chances are good that you are getting less than the desired amount of sleep.

If you are the parent of a new teenage driver, odds are that falling asleep will be a challenge until you hear them pull their car into the driveway at night.

Sleep might be hard to come by at all if you have employment, health or some other concern weighing heavy on your heart.

When I was a kid I had no trouble sleeping for 12 hours. My dear mother, who felt obliged to see me not sleep a day away, would resort to turning my dog, Shorty, loose in the house in order to wake me up. I calculated that I had five seconds more to sleep once I heard Shorty's toenails go from linoleum to carpet before I could count on his wet nose being in one of my ears.

My sleep cycle began to be reduced once I entered the work world. It was at that point that I was introduced to the importance of an alarm clock.

No alarm clock was necessary once I was married and little Henleys started appearing. While these little bright-eyed eating machines did not want to see my face at 2:30 a.m. when they woke up hungry, someone had to help perform diaper duty at that hour of the morning.

Recently my sleep cycle has been curtailed by the effects of the Parkinson's with which I am afflicted. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at least once in the night needing to use the restroom. By the time I have taken care of business and have climbed back in my recliner, quite frequently my hands and feet have "awoken" with tremors which makes getting back to sleep next to impossible.

During the day if I am plagued by a bad batch of tremors I will walk until they subside. But you would be surprised by how short the list of volunteers willing to walk with me is at 3:30 a.m.

A good leg massage has been known to take the edge off tremors, but such a request is impeding on someone else's sleep cycle.

Then my wife, Nancy, proposed soothing the shaking "beast" through the playing of music. Sorting through the CDs that were readily available we came up with three potentials, the Carpenters love songs, John Denver's greatest hits and Exploring Piano Classics.

Thus far the Carpenters have come the closest to hitting the musical bull's-eye. John Denver is a bit too exuberant in places. As for the piano classics, Nancy and I agree that it was more annoying than soothing.

The search for suitable music will continue. In the meantime, since Nancy has a nice voice, I wonder if I could get her to sing me a lullaby. Probably not, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

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