In doing my research for this column, I learned Jan. 3 is Festival of Sleep Day.

That's the best thing I've heard in years.

I love to sleep. Of course as a child, I hated sleeping because there was other stuff going on while I was sleeping and I didn't want to miss it.

My uncle, who was an overgrown child himself, thought he might be able to get me to nap, so he would sit with me while I was supposed to nap. He'd fall asleep and I'd sneak out of the room to find something interesting to get into.

As a teen, my love of sleep was fully developed. I've read teenagers need more sleep than an adult and I was living proof. In fact, I don't know how I got through high school, because every day after school I would intend to study, but fall asleep until my mom called me for dinner. I'd tr to study after dinner, only to catch a few Zs before going to bed.

I guess the idea is the growing body needs extra rest. My friends weren't like that, though. Go to school, play basketball, work a part-time job. It seems as though they never rested.

When the band went on an away game, all the members wanted to stop someplace to eat. Understandable, because we had no fast-food places. But all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed.

My penchant for sleep extended into college, where the importance of study is perhaps a little more important. In my case, it certainly was more needed. I just couldn't hold my eyes open to wade through text about my future profession, much less boring stuff I knew I wouldn't need to know.

I must have hit a peak of energy in my young adulthood, because it wasn't so bad for a while. In fact, I was operating at a break-neck speed for several years, but then I came down with mononucleosis when I was in my 40s, which is a weird time to get it. More commonly called simply "mono," or "the kissing disease," the virus wiped me out in terms of energy. It was a turning point in my sleep life. Not only do I like to sleep, I really need to sleep now.

I've heard as you age, sleep becomes more elusive. Not for me. I still find sleep a joy and a necessity. I don't mean six hours, just enough to get by. I like a good, long sleep, nice and deep, with detailed and colorful dreams.

So with the big holiday coming up, I'm planning what to do for the Festival of Sleep. I'm gonna lay out my favorite jammies, close the shades and see how long I can sleep. My record is 12 hours.

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