It’s no secret that I’m a fan of USA TODAY. News, sports, and entertainment in a colorful, easy-to-digest package? Absolutely. If I want in-depth reporting, I’ll read the WaPo or a magazine. But most days, I want just enough information to keep my apprised of what’s happening in the world. For the same reason, I only watch the opening segment of the NBC Nightly News.
Sometimes, though, a headline or a graphic gives me pause. Happened again today, with this poll:
Let’s start with the source. Sleepy’s. The mattress people, I assume. Makes sense that they would be doing a survey about sleep habits, right? Perchance they even sell a mattress that will help with the maladies listed.
And, oh the maladies. Sleep talking/snoring, I understand. I would debate whether midnight snacking is a problem, but I guess it depends on what is being consumed and where. I see no issue with a li’l peanut butter sandwich after dark, but I supposed POPCORN CRUNCHING IN YOUR FACE would be unpleasant. Early bedtime? Are you kidding me? Unless you’re living in a studio, having one person go to bed earlier than the other shouldn’t be a problem. These people know they can just stay in the living room watching TV, reading, or plotting world domination, right? The Brain didn’t go to bed when Pinky went to bed. C’mon, folks.
But my eye skipped to the bottom of the graph, to “Childish sleeping habit,” and my imagination went wild. What could this possibly be? Do we have a Linus/blanket situation, or thumb-sucking, or what? Are these people crying themselves to sleep, or asking to hear Goodnight Moon, or what? Each possibility is more fascinating than the next, and I say this as someone who slept with the same pillow until age nine or so. (My parents still have it. It seems a lot smaller now than it did then. And shabbier. Honestly, it’s sort of a Velveteen Rabbit without the smallpox or whatever caused that thing to be burned in what was possibly the most psychologically-scarring childhood book this side of The Giving Tree.)
I’ll finish by noting that this poll asked for habits people’s partners were “trying to make you break before marriage.” Which would indicate that a) these habits can be stopped and b) marriage is the do-or-die cutoff when it comes to weird shit you do. Not so much, right? Because I have known a great many married people who are weird as hell, and that’s with no knowledge of what they get up to in the privacy of their own homes.
I’m claim to be neither a scientist nor a statistician, but the science behind this poll seems iffy at best.