The secret for a good night’s sleep

Joe Pisani Web sig

Joe Pisani Web sig

Staff / Hearst Connecticut Media

All of us — the young, the old and those who lie about our age — struggle when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. It starts early in life and gets worse with worries, distractions, bad mattresses and bad relationships.

But I’m convinced my 3-year-old grandson has found the cure for humanity, which could guarantee every man, woman, child and canine a sound sleep and sweet dreams.

At nap time, my daughter, through the miracle of the modern Internet, creates the soothing sounds of a vacuum cleaner (?!?!), which lull him into a deep slumber. This isn’t an Electrolux or a Hoover, it’s an app on her cell phone that makes vacuum cleaner sounds. I suspect that when he’s in dreamland, he imagines he’s working with the cleaning crew at Toys R Us.

As my mother used to say, “What will they think of next?” It will probably be something frightening. I just hope with all this vacuum cleaner noise bombarding his subconscious that he doesn’t grow up like both his grandmothers, who collect vacuum cleaners the way Warren Buffett collects businesses.

I’ve been sharing this good news with everyone, including an old friend I saw after 15 years who could talk about nothing but his insomnia.

My wife, Sandy, often gets up in the middle of the night when she has trouble sleeping and goes downstairs for a bowl of cereal, which she eats in bed. I had to tell her there was a hard and fast rule in our home when we were growing up that you couldn’t eat in bed. Only smoke.

When the moon is full, I have trouble sleeping, along with the coyotes in the woods behind our home. My mother used to say that if I was lying awake at night, it meant I had a guilty conscience; however, “conscience” is a 20th century concept that doesn’t apply in modern America.

I probably inherited my sleeping problems from my parents, who kept the television and CBS Radio on to lull them to sleep. Unfortunately, it made their room sound like the electronics department at Walmart and kept the rest of us awake.

My problem is exacerbated by our dog Bella, who wakes me up every morning at precisely 1:24 a.m. and sits by the side of the bed and grunts. When the grunting gets no response, she starts to growl — GRRRRRRR — until I extract myself from dreamland, where I was frolicking on the beach in Turks and Caicos with a group of Victoria’s Secret models. GRRRR ... GRRRR.

What she’s trying to tell me in dog language is that she wants me to roll out of bed and get her a midnight snack. (I’d be behind bars if Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, ever knew what went on in our house.)

After her treat, she goes back to doggie dreamland, burying bones and chewing up slippers. I can tell she’s dreaming because she lies on her back with her tail wagging and her paws twitching, which leads me to conclude she’s either chasing squirrels or cats or Victoria’s Secret models. Inevitably, she starts snoring, which keeps me tossing and turning for another hour or so.

Well, drastic times require drastic measures. This next paragraph is top-secret. Last week, I went online and bought that vacuum cleaner app for my cell phone and it worked! I had to use ear buds so no one else would hear. I certainly didn’t want to disturb my wife, whose secret to a good night’s sleep is to have a Diane Keaton romantic comedy like “Something’s Gotta Give” on her DVD player all night. For three years, she played “Little Women” and after that, it was “Downton Abbey,” seasons one through six, none of which helped me.

The crazy thing is the vacuum cleaner sounds did the trick. When I dozed off, I dreamt I was vacuuming the Oval Office with a cleaning crew that consisted of Victoria’s Secret models and Melania Trump ... or maybe that was Ivana.

Joe Pisani can be reached at