Night Blindness

You may have seen the video of neuroscientist and sleep author, Penelope Lewis, discussing the link between Alzheimer’s disease and lack of sleep. She goes on to share that sleep is critical to innovation and creative processes.

Regardless of what I’m doing, I tend to throw myself into it wholeheartedly—including sleep. With that in mind, I wear a “black out” sleep mask and soft foam earplugs to induce a cocoon-like ambience that nothing but a cold wet nose in the face (Willa’s, not Len’s) can stir me from.


A person who’s normally alert, curious, and enjoys observing the smallest details, when it comes to sleep, I choose to turn a blind eye, to block it all out.

Do you ever intentionally turn a blind eye?


68 thoughts on “Night Blindness

  1. Laurie, I am turning a blind eye almost constantly. I have an unfortunate tendency to be critical, not only of persons, places and things, but up to and including myself. In an honest effort to be impartial and non judgemental, I will often overcompensate to evaluate and elevate, rather than look for flaws. Instead of greeting my beloved with the words, ” Good Lord, help us! What is up with your hair!?”, I say, “Good morning! Aren’t we bright eyed and bushy tailed today!” I can easily turn a blind eye to weeds growing where they shouldn’t, dust bunnies congregating and mating under the bed and little children repeating shocking words they hear at home. Turning a blind eye occasionally allows one to keep the peace, done once too often though can result in a lack of awareness that can be unhealthy or foolish. Good question!

  2. Good question, Laurie, and something I will have to think about. I suppose everyone turns a blind eye sometimes. As Sandiwhite above says, sometimes it is a useful technique. At other times, however, people need to confront or fight against an injustice or interfere in a situation.

    I will have to check out the video when I get a chance.

  3. I like complete darkness for sleeping also. Just installed black out curtains in one bedroom. I also have a blackout setting on my phone. No calls or texts between ten and seven.

  4. I’m in PA this week with my sisters spending time at Aunt Ruthie’s house. I overlook the little irritations that arise among us because, you know what, they have to do the same for me – ha!

    For now, I’ll also turn a blind eye to the stack of US News & World Reports parked in a corner upstairs. I just spotted one though from Dec. 20, 1999. Lord help me! I’ll probably read it!

    Great post!

    • Marian — The mark of a wise woman, I love the fact that you realize that during this sisters’ week, each of you is quite possibly exercising the same “turning a blind eye” technique for each other 🙂

  5. Interesting idea of getting the proper amount of sleep and Alzheimer’s ! I had recently read something about that. I certainly get enough of that. Hey I am “retired” I can take a nap, and I think that nap is more restful than 6 hours I get at night.

    I am not sure turning a “blind eye” is a constructive tool in most cases for I am an observer, sight, sound, sensations, all of these senses are there for a purpose. I will have to contemplate this more.

  6. I recently took to turning my phone to sleep mode no calls or text during the night time, but am still able to leave my phone on incase one of my kids need to get through to mommy..LOL they are all full grown and out of the house living with spouses…old habits die hard…LOL I sleep in complete darkness and a fan on plus my window wide open, it does close a little more in the winter but the need for cool air is a need for me to sleep….Since I have lost some weight my sleep has improved, whether its the weight or the exercise…as far as turning a blind eye…..I have blinders on all the time…LOL the dust, the dog hair, the bathtub that needs a good scrubbing, the garage that could be mucked out….the frigin weeds that keep threatening to take over my flower beds…LOL good post…leave me thinking this morning……and feeling a little guilty for I do turn a blind eye to a lot in my life….LOL I always use the ole, life is to short to stress the small stuff, at my blind eye turning…LOL have a great day..

  7. Interesting question. I am head strong and impulsive. Sometimes I need to turn a blind eye, but that message doesn’t get to my mouth in time lol!

    In my teenage years I could sleep in until noon. As I’ve aged, sleep is not something my body needs as much. I am a night owl by nature. At 10 p.m my eyes pop open and that is when I have my most energy. I usually am just coming in from the barn and will do some housework, laundry, walk on my treadmill etc. I try to force myself into bed by midnight and usually get to sleep around 12:30-12:45 and back up and at em by 7:00. I envy those that can get their body and mind to rest peacefully when it should. Great post! Tina

    • Tina — Oh my blessed word, I’d be limp as a rag doll on your schedule! I love the idea of being a “night owl,” but the reality of it would have me down and out in a few days time 🙂

  8. I frequently turn a blind eye – to the drifts of dog hair in corners, dust on surfaces, weeds and grasses growing where they are not wanted – to quote Arlene, it is a combination of willful ignorance and healthful self care. Until the day the eye refuses to go blind.

  9. When do you get involved? When do you keep your hands out of it? These are questions that I often struggle with. Sometimes I arrive at the right answer. Other times not. But, yeah, I’m human.

    • Leanne — Your reply made me think of this quote. I don’t know who said it, but I love it: “Always keep your mouth closed when a meeting is going really well or deteriorating into Dante’s inferno.”

  10. I have been doing lots and lots of healing sleep (naps) this summer post surgery and I love my old back chair for the cozy feel. I rarely have trouble sleeping. right now my back does not want to stay in the same position for long and I have to get up often and move around. I now have a mouth brace in position to correct the jaw problem that came along with the fall – I am happy to have this correction but it is rather painful especially at night. Soon we will all be back in working order.

    I am intentionally turning a blind eye to the NEWS and Washington DC right now – the negativity and horrible behaviors right now are just too much to see or listen to right now. I am working on looking at flowers and kindness as much as possible.

    Hoping our house will sell soon so we can move forward (I am finding this a hard process – though I loved getting rid of all the stuff in this house – feel better when life is simple and
    easier when it is less crowded.)
    Fun piece of writing Laurie – thank you and sweet dreams!

    • Patricia — I am glad to know, “Soon we will all be back in working order.” A little over a year ago when we had our house on the market, I was chomping at the bit for it to sell, Sell, SELL — NOW! Hindsight being what it is, the timing (which took longer than we expected) was PERFECT. Had it sold any sooner, or any later, we wouldn’t have landed right-side-up in the Carriage House that we absolutely love! 🙂

  11. This post makes me smile Laurie. I do love my sleep and will treasure it! So I turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when one of the dogs wants out during the night. I’d rather deal with the mess in the morning than give up my sleep.
    …hhhmmm… I’m not much of a housekeeper, but I am a great cleaner up after dogs!

  12. Husband should use your tools as any little noise keeps him from going to sleep. I confess to ignoring a bit of dust on the furniture but try not to turn that blind eye when I know I should speak up in defense of what is right. A thoughtful post!

  13. I try to turn a blind eye when someone seated near by is eating ice cream or other lovely sweets. I’m a sugar addict and can’t have much before it makes me sick!

  14. Hi Laurie

    Many really interesting aspects to this one.

    I too like my sleep.
    I need to get a good solid block of 7-8 hours from time to time, and I am married to a girl that rarely sleeps more than an hour at a time.
    I have gone 72 hours straight work without sleep, but the hallucinations started to become impossible to distinguish as such, and I just had to head back to shore and get some sleep.

    I do find creativity enhanced by sleep, but oddly not on the day after I get the sleep, but the one after that.

    And having spent so many years at sea, and at university amongst a group of pranksters, I trained myself to wake if anything in the environment changed (at sea, a change in the pattern of motion or noises can be an indication of danger, and needs to be investigated). At university I used to spread a little sugar on the floor in front of door and windows, so that if some practical joker did come in, the crunch of sugar under foot would wake me (prior to developing that habit I did wake one morning in the middle of a parking lot, having gone to sleep in my flat).

    As to turning a blind eye, that seems to be all about judgement, at so many different levels.
    These days I tend to let anything go unless I see it as a matter of risk to survival. So if I see someone dropping litter, rather than telling them its wrong, I might talk to them about the cumulative risks of many small actions, and how things being poisonous involves the notion of risk profiles involving concentration over time, and also involving variations amongst individuals in a population; so what is safe for everyone in the population over their entire lifetime might be a concentration a hundred times lower than what is safe for half the population over a 90 day period (the sort of thing regulators can test at a reasonable cost). We have some very strange standards and processes in our systems, much more attuned to making money than to providing a safe environment for everyone.

    And there is no such thing as being risk free.
    We do not live in a closed predictable system.
    And I love David Snowden’s Cynefin (pronounced “Kinevin”, its Welsh) framework for responses to different sorts of complexity in systems.

    And there is so much more we could do to provide a safe and interesting environment for everyone. And it wont happen so long as we allow our systems to put profit above people. We need a baseline in society, of systems that provide the fundamentals of life and liberty and security (in as much as that is possible) to everyone, no exceptions.

    We are still a long way from that at present.

    What people do beyond that is very much a matter of choice.
    The current systems of finance and governance are fundamentally based in scarcity at every level, and some of the scarcest things are truth and integrity. Lies and deception seem to pervade at all levels of governance structures (particularly the legal and political systems).

    So I can turn a blind eye to many things, but I am no longer willing to turn a blind eye to that.
    Not that its wrong.
    It just does not work.
    It doesn’t deliver long term security to anyone, at any level.
    It is all illusion, and even those at the top of the heap are starting to see it for what it is.

    Human beings are fundamentally cooperative entities, and it is that, and that alone, not any set or rules or regulations, that are holding things together right now.
    It is the good intentions of individuals that are keeping the system running in spite of the rules and regulations and bureaucracies and injustices that are threatening us all.

    And that realisation is starting, just starting mind, to work its way through the levels of awareness present.
    And the systems are getting very stressed.
    If things don’t change soon, some boundaries are going to break.

    And it is a very tricky thing, creating sufficient awareness and motivation to act towards a positive outcome, without creating so much fear that people respond with catatonic shock.

    • Ted — “And it won’t happen so long as we allow our systems to put profit above people.” I AM IN ABSOLUTE AGREEMENT WITH YOU ON THIS!

      Further, “The current systems of finance and governance are fundamentally based in scarcity at every level, and some of the scarcest things are truth and integrity. Lies and deception seem to pervade at all levels of governance structures (particularly the legal and political systems).” ONCE AGAIN, ABSOLUTE AGREEMENT!

      “And it is a very tricky thing, creating sufficient awareness and motivation to act towards a positive outcome, without creating so much fear that people respond with catatonic shock.” AND WHILE I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS ASPECT BEFORE, IN MY PERSPECTIVE, YOU’VE HIT THE BULLSEYE ONCE AGAIN!

  15. I had not heard this about sleep and Alzheimer’s. I never had problems with sleep until I turned 50. Now it’s a struggle to get in 5 non-interrupted hours. But I make myself stay in bed, turn a ‘blind eye’ to thoughts I shouldn’t think and to books I want to read and stories I want to write, and instead just doze, in and out of the ecstasy of sleep.

  16. Oh, Laurie this brought up so much stuff for me about sleep! But I’m going to turn a blind eye to the history and details.

    Like you, and many others here, we recognize that sleep is a major factor which contributes to our state of well being during the waking hours and that requirement is 8 interrupted hours.

    Although I don’t don eye mask or earplugs anymore I prepare for it ritualistically, allowing an hour for that, and listening with the windows open for the night creatures to take over their watch, in this quiet forest.

    All this to prepare my brain to do the heavy lifting while I sleep through it all.

    • Laura — It’s interesting just how many of us sleep with the windows open. You for the night-sounds, others for the fresh air. I love that you prepare for sleep ritualistically. There’s a whole story, right there!

  17. I found the talk by Penelope Lewis fascinating because my grandmother died of Alzheimer’s disease. When she was a teenager her family’s house caught fire in the middle of the night, when everyone was sleeping, and burned to the ground. Fortunately they all got out safely. But after that she had so much trouble sleeping she usually stayed up all night, as if she had appointed herself night watch-woman. She would only drift off to sleep for a few hours in the morning after she heard others getting up and starting their daily routines. Perhaps this sleep deprivation contributed to the development of her Alzheimer’s disease – a possible connection I never considered before.

    • Barbara — Oh my gosh, that would be a horrific experience. I’m so glad they all survived. Based on what Penelope Lewis shared and your grandmother’s extreme lack of sleep, I, too, would suspect it to have a connection with her Alzheimer’s disease.

  18. With 26yrs with various shift work military and a desert deployment all compounds the sleep cycle. At first was making me crazy the issues with good quality sleep. Help with the Vet Admin drs pills and sleep studies. After several yrs decided not to get all worked up with my issues with sleep. If it happens great if not that too is hreat.

  19. This week, I am turning a blind eye to just about everything. The mess in the house has conspired against me and bred like rabbits and my kids have been struggling with being a bit unwell and all the usual peer issues you get with kids from time to time. They’ve both had a day off.
    People can be so critical of others. As I child, I remember my grandmother telling me: “If you haven’t got something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”
    I haven’t heard that mentioned for many, many years although I do hear about the Golden Rule quite a lot. IU think this piece of wisdom also needs to make a definite comeback! xx Rowena

  20. Laurie, as of late I have turned a blind eye to some of the foods I normally indulge in with reckless abandon. The key word is moderation, and to negotiate it properly I must turn a blind eye to overindulgence, which of course is an invitation to all kinds of problems. Another terrific post here!

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