Sitting, sleeping and standing deemed health risks
I don't know how to break this to you, but as you read this you're doing something that's gravely detrimental to your health.
According to every third commercial, news report and clickbait ad on social media, we're all sitting, standing and sleeping incorrectly.
Empires have been built upon the narrative that we should all be eating kale, buying watches that tell us how many steps to take per day, and sitting on balance ball chairs at our desks. If sitting on a giant beach ball at work isn't your thing, you can now buy an adjustable desk that will allow you to stand while doing paperwork - but don't stand for too long, because that's not healthy either.
I don't mean to present myself as a renegade who is untouched by the health statistics that are re-written daily on an Etch-A-Sketch. Truth be told, I've altered my breakfast habits over the last few years.
Every weekday The Wife prepares a smoothie for me consisting of bananas, blueberries, spinach, yogurt and some sort of protein powder. I've tampered down the soda intake and consume as much water as I can stand. I even started wearing a helmet for my weekly bungee jumps off the Kinston Hotel Apartment building.
On the weekends I turn into a wild man, with breakfast usually consisting of something that at one time had a pulse and may have inspired a spider to write short stories. At some point, during the weekend I may also go on a bender and have a Pepsi. If I'm really out of control I've been known to drink an entire half of can a Mountain Dew up to two times per year.
Last Wednesday Tax Deduction #1 was violently under the weather from 2:30 AM till 6 AM, so there was no sleep to be had during those hours - unless you were Tax Deduction #2 - who was in such a deep state of R.E.M. sleep that we had to put down a series of tarps and buckets to contain the drool. We're in talks with Chem-Trend out of Michigan to repurpose the stuff as an industrial lubricant.
Once TD#1's illness/exorcism passed, I managed to sleep for a solid 20 minutes while The Wife didn't even manage that much. I woke up to the hazy realization that if Marilynn Monroe had taken over a McDonald's by force, it would be classified as a Marilyn McCoup. (All you fans of the Fifth Dimension or the show Solid Gold can explain that one to the rest of the class.)
Later that morning at work, it was evident water on its own wasn't going to keep me from falling asleep mid-step. I procured a Pepsi and that first sip lit me up like the Fourth of July. I could hear colors and smell sounds. Sure I'd only had four hours of sleep, but thanks to that soda I now had the will to live for at least another hour.
All kidding aside, it's important to watch the sugar intake and get some exercise, but like many movements in our society, this health thing is starting to get a little nuts.
I understand sitting all day with little movement is bad for you, and its obvious standing for long periods of time isn't a good thing. That's why I wear a desk harness and do all of my paperwork while jogging around the office. Sure my handwriting is a little jumpy and occasionally I'll take out half a dozen coworkers because I was concentrating on a spreadsheet while rounding a corner, but now it turns out we're all sleeping wrong too.
According to an article by Lizette Borreli published by www.MedicalDaily.com, 80% of the population will at some time experience back problems caused by the position in which they sleep. The article goes on the proclaim sleeping on your back prevents facial wrinkles, skin breakouts, and acid reflux but can lead to snoring. Sleeping on your side can cause unwanted skin aging since placing your face on a pillow can cause wrinkles.
If you're not depressed yet, hold on. The article also proclaims sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn, whereas sleeping on the left side can put a strain on the liver, lungs, and stomach.
Sleeping on your stomach can lead to "pain, numbness, and tingling" while sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest (the fetal position) can cause neck and back pain, wrinkles and other things I won't go into. Somehow we've got to get a message to this unborn babies that they should be laying on their backs in the womb.
After reading up on these dastardly sleep positions, I've come to realize the only way to sleep properly is to hang upside down from the rafters like a bat.
Who among us has enough wherewithal to monitor our sleep position while we're sleeping? Sure we could all start out laying on our backs, but once we drift to sleep and start dreaming, how are we to control how we toss and turn during the night?
Just last week I had the most horrible nightmare. I was in a restaurant that only served unsweetened tea, and it was overcrowded so I had to share a table with Joy Behar. I was so frightened by the dream that I awoke in the fetal position and remained so during my commute and most of the workday.
One of the funniest comedy albums of all time is George Carlin's A Place For My Stuff. The record contains a joke that is among the greatest ever written:
“The surgeon general warned today that saliva causes stomach cancer - but apparently only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.”
Until some genius creates a helium balloon suit that will eliminate the need to sit, stand or lay down, we're stuck with the outdated, bourgeois mattress and chair. Somehow our ancestors made it through the Great Depression, and we too shall persevere.
Contact Jon Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.jondawson.com.