I am a bad sleeper. I don't know if I'm technically an insomniac but I can say in all honestly that for me, the nighttime is the hardest part of the day. It's been this way for a long time. I''m good at going to sleep and I enjoy the "first sleep" of two or three hours, but after that, say from 2 am on, it's an adventure. Nightmares, tossing and turning, "fluff in the lung and a feverish tongue," and mostly what I think of as "airplane sleep" -- that is, the kind of semi-sleep, semi-awake borderline limbo which you're in when you're sitting up in a crowded plane.
Moreover, things start to look mighty bleak in the 2-5 part of the morning. Is that pain in my toe a bruise, or is it the beginning phase of gout or neuropathy? Cancer of the instep? Will they want to amputate my leg at the knee?
Not so in the 1950s. Return we now to those days of yesteryear and recall the most glorious sleepings of my life. I'm in my teens, and it's spring. A weekend. I spend the morning at the PS 217 schoolyard, playing basketball. I'm tireless once I get my second wind. After four or five hours, I drag myself home for a roast beef dinner, stuff myself. Then I lie down, turn on the radio and listen to Red Barber and Connie Desmond broadcast the Dodgers game (if it's Sunday, perhaps a double-header). By the second inning, I'm deep in the arms of Morpheus. Profound, incomparable. A sleep beyond ordinary sleep. When I wake, it's the seventh inning. I've been in sleepotopia for two hours.
Where are the sleeps of old time? Ah that I could recapture them.