I’ve been moving around a lot of late. I have garage door codes memorized and keys marked. I can cope with sleeping in different beds just fine. What’s tripping me up is the light switches.(More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

The Benjamin Hotel has hired a sleep expert to help their guests adjust to life on the road. Their sleep researcher/consultant offers this advice:

What’s the worst thing you can do if you’re in a hotel or another unfamiliar place, and experiencing insomnia?

If you’re tossing and turning after 15 minutes, get up and get out of bed. But keep the lights low, walk around, do some light stretching, or read a book. It’s important to do something that’s not stressful.

Notice the advice to keep the lights low. Not a word about finding the lights in a dark room. Not a single word. In some places I have stayed lately there is a bedside lamp. Finding it in the dark isn’t always easy. I have damaged one lampshade so far in my groping in the dark. Stumbling in the dark to find a wall switch isn’t the kind of memory walk one can take if you’ve lived in the same place for years.

The houses I have owned were all built in the late 1800’s. A light switch was a simple toggle, the basic off or on switch. It was a major upgrade to have a dimmer on the dining room light fixture. Newer houses have fancy light switches with a little sliding dimmer next to a larger flat toggle. Putting my grandchildren to bed is easy but getting their lights dimmed to their satisfaction is almost a comedy. It is sad when a drowsy almost asleep child has to leave their bed and do the lights for Nana. Kind of spoils the magic of reading to them and snuggling only to have the mood jerked away by the light switch business. I have entertained the idea that they may be playing me.

The guest bedroom at my son and D-I-L’s is in a walk out basement and very nice. Unfortunately the bathroom is in the opposite corner. I rarely need to get up in the middle of the night but I learned my lesson about trying to navigate in the dark. I forgot the placement of a heavy wooden coffee table. Oops. I should have spent the time feeling up the wall to find the light switch for the family room area. You might think that the placement of switches had been standardized. Not yet!

Newer houses have light switches that can be turned on in more than one place. In my son’s kitchen area there are five different banks of lights and at least three control areas. Getting the one or two on that I want is getting easier but it is far from automatic.

Since I am a really good sleeper, I would probably not consult the sleep concierge. I can get quality sleep on an airplane. Of course I know that the light switch if I should need it is right above my head. I think what I would do if I was still traveling a lot for business is invest in a clapper.