Two little words that mean so much to those of us who're beholden to some sort of alarm clock. Be it electric, wind-up, cell-phone, wake-up call, the sun's swollen head poking o'er the mountains, the chirping of the birds which precedes that — this essay is for us. Those who find sleeping in a delicious once-in-a-while treat (to some, sadly, a guilty pleasure) the joy of which is surpassed only by sleeping in with someone at one's side.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

— Benjamin Franklin

What the hell was this man thinking?! In research for this essay, I came across yet more "words of wisdom" from the pen of Ben that I'd hazard a guess would be equally nauseating to those who delight in sleeping well past one's customary time of rising:

There will be sleeping enough in the grave.

My goodness (really, goodness had nothing to do with it). Harvey Fierstein, in one of his own works said, "I just wanna be loved, is that so wrong?" I paraphrase that for my own nefarious use: "I just wanna sleep, is that so wrong?" Apparently Franklin thought it was wrong, indeed.

Not Really Sleeping At All, Sometimes

Sleeping in is a concept that doesn't necessarily connote that one is actually sleeping. Breakfast in bed, served by a loved one, can be considered 'sleeping in.' Now, should one's loved one(s) not be so inclined as to go to the extent of setting up a little tray of morning delicacies and bringing it to one's bedside, there are, indeed, alternatives. I stole one of those one-cup coffee makers from a hotel room, and have been known to bring fruit and the occasional pastry up to my bedside in the evening, where they lay next to said purloined pot, awaiting the following morning. On the rare occasions I get to sleep in, I savor the coffee and eat slowly whatever I have to accompany it. There is a little demon in the back of my mind which leaves me momentarily guilty, as if I'd committed a vile, selfish act. But believe me, it goes away fast, and when finished with my repast, I bask in the afterglow.

Sure, the coffee pot is sometimes used on work mornings when I'm pretty sure the household help ain't making any to bring up to me. But in either case, my laptop is open and I'm working on something. Sleeping in doesn't count if my laptop's open and turned on.

Differences Between Weekday and Weekend Sleeping In

Most folks have Saturday and Sunday off. Sleeping in on those days only counts for one point. The rest of the neighborhood's out puttering around; in winter, with noisy snow-blowers; in summer, with lawn mowers abuzz. City people are trampling about the hallway outside one's apartment making ready for a full day of rest and relaxation, oft-times commencing the cacophony of being awake and about before they'd commence on a work day.

The three-pointer is the weekday sleep in. After about 8:30 in the morning the commuter's cars have left; all around is silent, but for the warbling noises of birds, squirrels scampering across the roof, and the occasional yelp of a dog searching for another of his kind to answer back in canine conversation. Yes, silence's sound so sweet was put to music by modern composers and squawked and squealed from AM radios in cars and elsewhere many years ago. But no composer, no radio whether AM or hi-fidelity, state-of-the-art device that sucks songs seemingly from the stars can equal the morning's silence when one is in one's nest, one's comfy bed, with nowhere to go and plenty of time to get there.

Sleeping In, Decadently

A costly (some think wasteful) way to sleep in is in a luxury hotel. Good ones will forgive one's request to delay check-out until at least 3:00 in the afternoon. Yours truly, ever the cheapie, makes sure there's plenty of coffee for the coffeemaker and purchases his breakfast the evening before, rather than pay ten times the price just to have the same thing delivered by hotel staff. And room service requires a trip to the door wearing something. You get an extra point any time you spend the entire 'sleep in' period naked as the day you were born.

Many years ago I awoke one morning in the guest bedroom of a friend. This person was lucky enough to be able to sleep in often, and was therefore a connoisseur of sleeping in. We'd been out way past our bedtimes the night before. It didn't take much convincing to get me to call in and take a sick day. After I got off the phone, my friend brought in coffee and fruit, and we sat together on the bed sipping and eating. He disappeared for a moment, and returned with two snifters and a bottle of Mandarine Napoleon - basically Cognac with a tiny bit of orange flavor. What decadence as we turned off the television and sipped the magic potion, and conversed for awhile, then savored the quiet all around us, then conversed some more. This went on for what seemed like hours, until finally we gathered ourselves together, showered (delightfully numb from the alcohol) and went out for a bite of real food.

That morning was a special first, an early lesson in life lived well and with laughter; one which, try as I might, I couldn't reprise exactly, though on a few occasions I've come close. Of course, there are plenty of folks who'd say that drinking in the morning is a sure sign of something terribly sinful. The true sin is when one hasn't another to share such a morning with and is left to sleep in, booze in one hand and coffee in the other (subtract one point for drinking alone in the morning; I don't care if you need the "hair of the dog").

To Sleep, or Not To Sleep - (It's Not A Question)

For those who wake up at the same time every morning, literally sleeping in is not a question. But to embrace all that is meant by "to sleep in" is to take the tips offered hereinabove and run with them. Even the bed part isn't necessary if there's another place more satisfying (a comfy chair in the den, the woods, spread out on one's living room floor in an ocean of pillows, even a bench in Manhattan's Central Park).

I can't guarantee that the most hard-boiled early-riser will doze off, but instead of counting sheep, perhaps one should visualize Judy Garland and friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin-Man in The Wizard of Oz bounding over the hill and into the poppy fields. On second thought, better not. Who knows, you might follow that thought with a vision of Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West:

Poppies. Poppies! Poppies will make them sleeeeeep. Sleeeep!


  • De Proverbio (on Benjamin Franklin and Poor Richard's Almanac):,1,1,95/FRANKLIN.html (Accessed 4/19/07)
  • Drinkalizer website (Mandarine Napoleon): (Accessed 4/19/07)
  • Dr. Sara Mednick on napping and late check-out times: (Accessed 4/19/07)

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