Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Getting a solid eight

March 7, 2014

They say eight to nine hours of sleep will help a diet. It’s eight to nine hours when I’m not shoveling food into my face.

Therefore, I can see the benefits.

Something goes on in your body when you get the right amount of sleep. It repairs itself. I never had a problem sleeping. I’m like one of those old-fashioned baby dolls. As soon as I lie down, my eyes close.

Lately, however, I’ve been tossing and turning. I wake up in the middle of the night with random thoughts like, “Did I turn the basement light off?” “Did I put a stamp on the GEICO bill?” and “Jerry is really good at checkers.” Like I said, random.

Somehow these thoughts become very important at 4 a.m. I don’t know who is running the show up there in my brain, but they better cut it out.

Even when I can’t sleep, I stay put. I know a lot of insomniacs who wake up and watch television or read. If it’s a good book, reading late at night only invigorates me. I fall into the “just one more chapter” habit. The next thing you know, it’s morning and I’ve polished off 400 pages. I am going to have to buy shorter books.

I can’t watch television late at night. I contend that there’s nothing on during the day, but there are even fewer good choices after midnight. Case in point: They’re making a sequel to “Sharknado.” If you look closely enough, you can see the wires and the decline of Western Civilization.

It might not be “Sharknado” that’s keeping me up, but it might be weather related. I think it’s the constant fear of snow.

The weathermen are freaking me out. I’m onto you, Stephen Cropper. I’m convinced you’re getting kickbacks from Giant Eagle. I wake up every morning fearing a Polar Vortex, Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon. I’m afraid I’m going to run out of rock salt. I have this recurring nightmare where I’m shoveling the driveway on the Fourth of July.

Unlike Adele Dazeem, Idina Menzel or whatever-her-name-is, the cold does bother me anyway.

There is another problem that comes with the cold temperatures: I put on the covers, and I’m sweating. I throw the covers off, and I’m freezing.

For a while, I slept with one leg out, like Angelina Jolie’s slit dress from last year’s Academy Awards (maybe the post-Oscars news coverage has been keeping me awake).

At 5 a.m., I got up to go to the bathroom. I had one hour left before the alarm went off, but decided to go back to bed anyway. I would lie there waiting for the alarm to blare.

Then, I realized something. Eight hours of sleep has, indeed, been one of my diet tricks.

The other trick has been drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day.

It wasn’t a mental or spiritual problem. It was a physical one. I’ve been getting up every couple of hours to get rid of the H2O.

I’m going to have to give up either eight hours solid or eight liquid.



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