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Normally, when you are sleeping, part of your brain shuts off nerve signals to prevent your body from acting out every detail of your silly dreams. Last night, my shut-off malfunctioned. The results were rousing.

At 2:10 AM, Dreaming Don was in an ordinary dream conversation with a fanged and furry creature. The dream creature was something like a wolverine. Let’s call it a wolverine. Suddenly, the wolverine lunged at Dreaming Don. Naturally, Dreaming Don lurched away and as a result of that violent action threw Sleeping Don out of bed. Sleeping Don landed on his head and suddenly became Awake Don—on the floor in a confusion of blankets with a throbbing head, aching neck, and sore back. Sleeping Karen and Dreaming Karen immediately became Awake Karen, who wanted to know what had happened. I explained about the wolverine. All the Karen’s were sympathetic but also pressed me to restore their missing blankets.

The fall on my head really rang my bell.


New normal? This whole misadventure was a first. I couldn’t recall throwing myself out of bed since I had moved out of my crib 70 years ago.

Aging has brought me a steady parade of inconvenient novelties that have settled in and become permanent afflictions. So, I had to ask myself, is this throwing-myself-out-of-bed-on-my-head innovation going to become the new normal? 

What should I do? It wouldn’t be practical to go back to sleeping in a crib with high, safety sides because, these days, about every two hours I need to become Peeing Don.

Strapping myself down with some kind of safety harness also wouldn’t be practical for Peeing Don and I would have the added danger of becoming entangled in safety straps and choking.

On the grounds of impracticality, I also had to reject adhesive bed sheets, velcro pajamas, and "The Bed Web."


So far, my best idea is the Softie Sleep Helmet (TM). It’s a big, padded orb one can strap to one’s noggin at bedtime. Thus equipped, you can land repeatedly on your head until morning with no risk of injury. A properly fitted Softie Sleep Helmet (TM) (see illustration) makes pillows superfluous and also helps cancel distracting noises. It could be available in colors and patterns to match your pajamas. Brilliant, right?

I wish I’d thought of this wonderful invention before last night’s wolverine attack.


Don—Pittsburgh, February 23, 2021



Comments on this post (123)

  • Aug 10, 2021

    It sounds like Sleeping Don may have sleep apnea. Does he become a Loudly Snoring Don when he’s off in Dreamland? That would point toward the condition. If so, it’s easily diagnosed and can be treated with a small breathing assist machine, or CPAP. Weight and throat obstructions are among causes. Check with your doc.

    — Bill Prescott

  • Jun 14, 2021

    That was hilarious. Thanks. (Don’t mean ya any harm!)…

    — Loree

  • Mar 08, 2021

    Sounds like it’s time to upgrade your bed to a POSEY. 😉 In all seriousness, if your wife notices you keep acting out your dreams a trip to your doc is definitely in order. 👩‍⚕️ 🩺 🧠

    — Stephanie

  • Mar 08, 2021

    Hi Knot Noggin’ Don,

    Although I am fond of the head cloud invention, might I propose a couple of simple ideas: 1) Lower your bed … Platform style, no box springs, although that could be harder on aching knees; or 2) Put down a folding foam mattress that can be hidden away during awake hours … Protect the whole body!

    Safe sleeping and sweeter dreams!!!

    — Anne

  • Mar 08, 2021
    " Hoodillow is a clothing device designed to support a user’s head when sleeping in unconventional locations. It is composed of a double-layer hood with padding that can be rearranged throughout the interior of the hood. The customizable placement of padding allows users to support the side of their head, or support their specific medical needs, with increased comfort. "
    Sorry, Don! Someone beat you to do. Perhaps you can collaborate on a wolverillow?

    — Mel

  • Mar 08, 2021

    Don, here is what my husband (67) and I (72) do to get a good night’s sleep in spite of multiple issues and potty breaks. Some years ago, I started being visited nightly by wolverines, centaurs, mermaids, putti, magic flying monkeys, forest spirits, and others. My husband was awakened frequently by my kicking and thrashing and vocalizations. We bought twin beds. My husband needed more roll-room, so we replaced his twin bed with a full-sized bed. This arrangement worked pretty well and we still enjoy sleeping side by side in our own mis-matched beds. After a night in a sleep lab we also were prescribed CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices to keep our airways open. I was waking 62 times an hour prior to using the CPAP! A LOT of wolverines! I think the pool noodles under the edges of the fitted sheets are brilliant, too. Here’s to all your adventures in Dreamland staying in the subconscious lane.

    — Linda Oistad

  • Mar 08, 2021

    I used to experience this same type of event, sans wolverines. Often it was bigfoot that was menacing me or sometimes a chupacabra (both were usually the end result of an overly-spicy dinner). The best solution I’ve found was to rebuild all my bedroom furniture with pool noodles rather than wood. The furniture itself has no sharp edges which is super… no nasty bruises or eyeball injuries to worry about!
    I’ve also found that the weighted blankets help and currently sleep under four of the 25-pound blankets. These firmly anchor me to the floor between the piles of pool noodles that define the outlines of my bedframe. This approach has resulted in zero brain injuries since I completed the conversion!
    Three big thumbs up!

    — Doug

  • Mar 08, 2021

    First of all, thanks for the huge out loud laugh…I can just see all the Karen’s now! If anyone can make a Softie Sleep Helmet (TM!) popular…it’s you!

    — Cindy L

  • Mar 08, 2021

    This invention could come in very handy here in California. An earthquake threw me out of bed once when I was a kid, and sleeping me woke up on the floor, which was rockin’ and rollin’…given California’s propensity for sudden movement, shaking, and general geological mayhem, Don’s Softie Sleep Helmet has the potential for helping to ensure the safety of many millions of sleeping Californians! It could become as stylish as the pandemic masks we’re now sporting…oh, I also fell off my futon while sleeping a while back, no earthquake involved that time…

    — Patty Grogan

  • Mar 01, 2021

    Lost first missive so this will be short.

    Headwear idea is great. Needs a detachable face plate as face is needed for more than beauty Ie must protect certain critical parts having to do with sensory capacities and ingestion/inhalation. Consider that there maybe a market in the lucrative medical device business. Folks with serious neurodifferences have been struggling with these things for decades, also perhaps in long term care facilities.

    Suggest face plate be modeled after that Hannibal Lectur wore in “Silence of the Lambs” with decreased volume of metal. Also suggest you peruse a few reviews of bicycle helmets on line. Good discussions of structure and function.

    Finally, yes Wolverines! Full body Profile shot while running. Fabulous.

    — Jean Bramble

  • Mar 01, 2021

    A pool noodle nestled under the fitted sheet (running the length of the side) provides enough of a lip that you don’t roll off, but it’s still easy to get in and out of bed. Did it for my kid back in the day he transitioned out of a crib, and then did it this winter for my mom, who was having a similar problem.

    — Laura M

  • Mar 01, 2021

    Falling out of bed dreaming of wolverine attacks… never happened to me but I can commiserate. I feel out of bed this year when my partner starfished the entire bed after his gig completely exhausted. Easy to do for a 6’3 muscular man in a tiny Queen sized bed (they call those King sized in Scotland but THAT is a joke). I say half- bed rails man. Yeah, they have those now. Sorry about your head…

    — Jenne in Sunshine (Glad Not In Dreary Scotland)

  • Mar 01, 2021

    Sloping side “ramp” that will slide you gently to the floor? Climb in at the foot of the bed, slide off the side. RISKS: This may prove too fun for Peeing Don which could lead to turning Dreaming Karen into “go back to sleep, Don” Karen. Best of luck!

    — Scott

  • Mar 01, 2021

    You haven’t EVEN exhausted the positive aspects of a Softie Sleep Helmet™. Your illustration is rough, but I’m picturing the strap as being not a choking under-jaw thing, but a nice American-football-helmet-ish point-of-chin-cradling cup. Benefit – those of us who before-SSH slept with gaping maw and woke desiccated are rid of the negative dental, gakkkkk-breath, and dehydration effects. Also, gently but firmly clamping shut the jaw prevents or mutes snoring. Lastly, wearing headphones or earbuds to sleep can do a number on tender ears. The SSH has plenty of fluffy room for (add-on profit point!) painless little speakers. Speakers with which one can soothe savage dream-wolverines, thus also helping prevent ejection-seat dream effects. Or with which one can pipe in behavior-warping subliminal promptings: users’ choice. So sorry, rest-of-Calamityware folks – Don’s got a winner here. Ought to pitch it on Snark Tank.

    As for Judy’s comments on floor-sleeping – I concur. Once you’re on the floor you can’t fall down. And my family came equipped with an aesthetically-pleasing AND efficient wench, so there’s how I could get back on my feet. Though if it were every two hours, I suppose the wench might become a tad grumpy.

    — Jake G.

  • Mar 01, 2021

    Wow!!! I once fell out of bed as our two little doxies think they are full-size humans. And I agree with Gina, my C-Pap was a game-changer. Be well!!!

    — Jon Emmet

  • Mar 01, 2021

    I gotta ask – did you watch PBS’ Nature episode on the 24th? It was all about weasels, and included a segment on…wolverines!
    So, in addition to the many great ideas submitted – especially the full-body airbag – perhaps you should skip nature programs. Stick with zombies and aliens.
    Real life is too scary. And painful.

    — Lauren

  • Feb 27, 2021

    The Softie Sleep Helmet™, would be a brilliant safety device, as well as being fabulously fashionable!
    May I suggest a Calamitous Blue Willow color, for your personal use, as the Wolverines would likely mistake you for a Zombie Poodle, and avoid you like The Plague… Problem solved!

    — Laura Ciha

  • Feb 27, 2021

    Wow! I think that pelmetow is a great idea. I want one……

    — Debbie

  • Feb 27, 2021

    That helmet looks nice for winter but might be too warm for summer. Instead, what about designing a nice thick rug with robot capybaras all over it?

    — cavenewt

  • Feb 27, 2021

    This invention is sorely needed! (get it?)
    Seriously, elderly people, and people who faint a lot, need this. I keep giving my 87 year young sister a football helmet to wear because she falls a lot. But she keeps forgetting to put it on. I once told her “I need to find you one made out of big puffy marshmallows!” So… I think you are on to something. Helmet. Head protection. And bedtime snack – all in one!

    — Guy Owen

  • Feb 27, 2021

    Ouch! Deep soft rug or pillows on the floor might be a good interim assist. Time for a lower bed? with some kind of hand rail to help you get down and up from it.

    — Jean Norris

  • Feb 27, 2021

    Like your bunny foot helmets… TM.

    — Racheal Jones

  • Feb 27, 2021

    I’d imagine boxing/sparring style headgear might be something that wouldn’t totally disarm a nocturnal combatant’s ego when preparing for wolverine sneak attacks. It might also allow adequate ventilation and longer hairstyle preservation for us victims of vogue crippling bedhead issues. As someone with a definitively calamitous gene sequence that will almost certainly lead to increasingly dramatic dance sessions of my own, I’d love to see what your bonked noggin might create to stylize the tragic tango with all manner of subconscious gremlins.

    — MarieKaren

  • Feb 27, 2021

    The real pros wear football helmets with the faceguards removed.

    — Ib1netmon

  • Feb 27, 2021

    Hey Don and Karen,

    You had me at wolverine!


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