October 31, 2018

Sleeping in a cold room.

Turn the heat completely off at night or set the temperature at the level you'd put it if you were going out of town and didn't want the pipes to freeze (maybe 50°). If you're not convinced that's a good idea, here's a passage from "Moby Dick":
We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room. The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blankets between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.

96 comments:

Eleanor said...

It works until you have to get up to pee.

Fernandinande said...

No wonder my Dad hated (being forced to read) that book, what a load.

wild chicken said...

I agree. The chill itself makes me sleepy. Sadly, my husband disagrees. So he opens the windows and runs the exhaust fan til it's freezing, and tells me it's because I want it that way.

I'm doing it wrong I guess.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Absolutely agree. I sleep with the bedroom window open 365 nights a year.

bleh said...

I like it a little colder than normal room temperature, sure. Throwing out a leg from under the covers is my version of feeling "cold" in one body part while the rest of me is warm.

But letting it get down to the 50's? No fucking way. Even if your body feels warm under the covers, your face will feel uncomfortably cold. You'll wake up with chapped lips and stuffed nostrils. No thank you.

rhhardin said...

The bedroom goes down to the low 40s in coldest winter. I heat only the downstairs, where I am in the daytime.

Nonapod said...

I like it cool when I sleep, not freezing. I'm somewhat particullar. It has to be at least 62F and not more than 73F.

traditionalguy said...

OK. Maybe if you wear a layered shirt that covers the arms and shoulders. It sure keeps the bacteria from growing, like they do it in the Hospital ORs.

RichardJohnson said...

I much prefer to sleep in a cold room in the winter, under layers of blankets. One problem with cold weather is cold feet. In my student days, when I would get home from the library after midnight, my toes were cold. I could not, and cannot, fall asleep with cold toes. My solution was to warm up my toes with a heating pad.

A decade ago I visited my New England hometown during the Thanksgiving season. I spent a night at the house of a childhood friend. He had the heat cranked up- to what I don't recall- but it was too hot for me to fall asleep comfortably. Cold face and warm body works a lot better for me than warm face and warm body. In the morning I was asked how I slept. Like a log, I replied. As a guest, I didn't want to disturb their routine. Who knows- they might have even cranked up the heat for me, now accustomed to warmer Texas.

My aunt told me that when she and my father were children, they would sleep in the screened-in porch in the Illinois winter. Hot bricks insulated with cloth were used, she told me, to warm the bed up. That is perhaps a little extreme for me. But I have slept outside in freezing weather in a down sleeping bag with no problem.

traditionalguy said...

OK. Maybe if you wear a layered shirt that covers the arms and shoulders. It sure keeps the bacteria from growing, like they do it in the Hospital ORs.

robother said...

This passage is what passed for Gay Porn in the Victorian Age.

Chuck said...

Yes, from experience here in Michigan, coolness is great for sleeping. It is not so great for that 45 minutes in the morning, getting out of bed in winter darkness.

etienne said...

In the early 80's I was in a German town called Geilenkirchen. The Hotel was the Stadt Hotel. I got my room and went upstairs to find there was one toilet and one shower for all. Fine, I say. Then I check the room and I'm looking for the thermostat. There isn't one. It's colder than hell.

I asked the old man at the desk how to heat the room, and he said in German that there was no heat. But I won't need heat with that bed.

I get into the bed, and the first thing I notice is it is a feather bed, and I like a soft bed. Feather pillows, and a big blanket. Holy crap, it's getting hot in here. I find an opening and stick my leg out, ah!

I have to tell you, my early thoughts were to find a better hotel, but that was the best sleep I ever had, and I stayed there the whole three days.

Wince said...

But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed...

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

traditionalguy said...

Why not go all the way. Cold showers only.

Biff said...

I've long enjoyed winter camping for the quality of sleep one can experience in a cold tent with a warm sleeping bag.

rhhardin said...

Cold feet and cold hands: keep the ankles and wrists warm. They're what decide how much blood your feet and hands get.

Rory said...

Do people close the windows and turn on thd heat when the overnight low is 50? That's just good sleeping westher.

FIDO said...

Once slept out in a sleeping bag down to -10--20 F.

I did not sleep well, but I put that more on sleeping on a thin mat and being in a sleeping bag too short for me. If I had a fuller mattress and a longer bag, I think I'd have done much better.

(Testing a -40 sleeping bag. It kept me warm. Comfy)

richlb said...

We do this at my house. It works better recently since my wife and I are now on closer work schedules. Last winter she would wake about 1-2 hours before me or my son. That meant the heat ran like a blast furnace to get the temps back up, piling most of the heat into our bedroom and sweating me away at 6am.

Tank said...

And...to each his own.

Tank’s own is 68 to 60 at night.

FIDO said...

Programable thermostats can let you experience the qualities of living like a British Whaler without any of the actual inconveniences of getting out of a warm bed into a cold room.

Methinks that doing back breaking labor for 14 hours a day might have also had an affect on his quality of sleep.

Karen of Texas said...

Love my programmable thermostat. Set program to cool house to 67 by 10:30pm, then automagically begin heating to 70 by 6:30am. Set for 78 by 11:00am. The "cool to"/"heat to" range and 4 seasonal programs let me tweak variations of this depending on ...the season. I turned off the wifi/app connectivity feature or I could tweak it from the comfort of my bed.

Lawrence Person said...

That's long been my favorite passage from Moby Dick and I also find it to be true.

I have covers over everything but my face, and keep it at 60° in the wintertime.

Mr Wibble said...

I love a cold room with a warm bed piled high with blankets and comforters.

etbass said...

None of that was in the movie. See how much you miss by not reading the book?

Big Mike said...

@Meade, you must really love her. (Or are you the one who introduced cold bedrooms into her house and she’s showing that she loves you?)

madAsHell said...

It was cold on the sleeping porch at the fraternity house. Funny thing, the girls never complained about THAT!

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think 62 degrees F is probably the best temperature. Cold is indeed better, but not too cold.

mockturtle said...

Sleeping in the cold isn't a problem. Getting up is.

dreams said...

I grew up in an old farm house heated with a wood stove so I know about sleeping in a cold room.

Mattman26 said...

Moby Dick was such a joy (really, I picked it up voluntarily as an adult) until I got bogged down in all the whale taxonomy stuff; and the whole Queequeg thing was kind of hilarious. I wonder if there's a Readers Digest version.

Linda said...

I agree that sleeping in cooler temp's provides "the best nights sleep". But, compared to you, I am a bit wimpy and only turn the thermostat down to 57 at night.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Body temperature or blood oxygen level or blood sugar level has to be low for healing to occur. That is why diabetics heal slowly (sugar too high for too long)

Note that s[erm cells are manufaured outside of the body (lower tempersature) and egg cells during pregnancy, when alot of cell division takes place.

A recent study found that eating protein - which they decided was equal to 30 grams - about 1 ounce - of cottage cheese an half hour before bedtime was as good as exercise (this probably means muscle built up) ZYou do need protein plus folic acid. Plus sleep. But i think you ca eat well before 1/2 hour before bedtime. This on;y worked because they comaring it to nothing in the BMJ.

mockturtle said...

Here in southern AZ in the warmer months, the overnight 'lows' can be 90, so sleeping cold is only an option with the A/C cranked up. I keep mine at 83. While I migrate north in the summer, even October can be uncomfortably hot.

MadisonMan said...

Sleeping in a cold room is great - until it's time to wake up and get out of bed in a cold room. That's not so great.

FWIW, sleep researchers will tell you that cold rooms are good for sleep as well. Your body core temperature dropping is a signal to you to sleep -- but I find that until my hands and feet warm up (something that is not easy in a cold room), I cannot sleep.

Shane said...

Ann, you've been posting more profound questions/issues than usual lately.
I hope all is well for you and yours.
Thank you for everything you do here.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Diabetix often sweat at night to lower bidy temperature This probably makes up for the higher glcose levels.

Sleep is absolutely necessary. Rats prevented from sleeping die. (they are kept on a treadmill where of they stop moving they fall into the water) People who can never sleep (due to a disease) die.

Body temperature and other things have to be different for certain necessary things to occur..

gilbar said...

doesn't that Really only work when you are sharing the bed with a cannibalistic harpoonsman?

Linda said...

I forgot to add - when I was undergoing chemo for breast cancer and was hairless - we still slept in a cool room, but I had to wear a stocking hat to bed, otherwise my head would be toooooo cold!
I also couldn't run the shower exhaust fan while showering because even with hot water, but head (which is obviously closer to the exhaust fan) would get cold.

gspencer said...
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gspencer said...

That section of the book comes in the beginning. Word has traveled that the Nantucket's Pequod is assembling a crew. One of the assembly points is New Bedford, itself a whaling town, where mixed lots of would-be sailors could always be found. The time is early to mid December. At the moment New England is experiencing one of those periodic bitterly cold blasts that can last from 2-3 days to perhaps 2-3 weeks (called polar vertexes today). Ishmael and his boarding house roommate then head over to Nantucket where the Pequod is moored. The ship sails out of harbor on Christmas Day.

When I first read that section I knew exactly what those sleeping in those cold, cold rooms experienced. Sleeping on the Pequod couldn't have been much better. Down the East Coast until the warmer latitudes were reached offering some relief from the cold to be replaced by the fetid conditions of too much heat and humidity and other bodies. Then down the East Coast of SA knowing that the fury of Cape Horn awaits. But Ahab eases his crew by taking the Pequod around the milder (by comparison only) Cape Hope.

Yancey Ward said...

I don't whether or not this is particular to me, but I do like the room around 65 or lower when I sleep, but I like my feet uncovered- for some reason that makes me most comfortable- all of me under the blankets, including my head, but my feet sticking out into the cold. When I am awake, if I feel chilled, one solution is to simply put on socks.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I turn the heat way down at night, so it rarely comes on. Not because it helps me sleep, but because I'm a cheap bastard.

MadisonMan said...

People who can never sleep (due to a disease) die

Fatal Familial Insomnia sounds like a terrible way to go.

Let's hear it for a healthy and functioning Thalamus!

Marcus said...

I have read Moby Dick four times in my life. I doubt I will manage a fifth before I go. (and since I don't drink, that last sentence has a double meaning).
I enjoy a colder room to sleep in. Here in South Florida, I keep the AC on 73 or below and use a goose down comforter. Just this past week we had our first cool front (60 degrees at 6 AM, 80 by 11 AM) and I kept the sliders open. But after I'm up, I like some warmth in the house, at least until the outside temperatures rise. We only get a few periods of "cold" here -- because they are few, I enjoy them.

I'm on a blood "thinner" med, so I get chilly easier -- don't know if that has any relation or it's because I am just getting older and like most old men we bring a light jacket to the movies and restaurants here because the AC is set so low.

As for bacterial growth, the Temperature Danger Zone for foodborne illness-related bacteria is 41-135 degrees. In that range, bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels in just over four hours. I don't know that 60 degree temps retard bacterial growth much, but I have no knowledge of other types. I know for that brief period I spent in the county lockup years ago, it was all I could do to stay warm.

henge2243 said...

Hugh MacLennan smiles.

Seeing Red said...

Our bedroom used to be so cold, the glass of water froze a few times.

Flannel sheets and a heavy down comforter are wonderful.

Seeing Red said...

Your feet are a temperature gage. Sometimes wearing 1 sock does it for me. I achieve the right balance.

We are usually 1 flannel and 1 cotton sheet by now and when it gets colder, the full flannel. , but it’s still too warm for that.

James K said...

I loved Moby Dick, even all the whaling stuff. But mostly for just the motley set of characters on the ship. I’ve heard it said that was a metaphor for the melting pot that America was, at least back when immigrants had to fend for themselves to survive.

n.n said...

The thermodynamic contrast reminds you of life and sentience.

L Day said...

You haven't slept in the cold until you've slept in a snow cave with a winter storm raging outside. Unless the winds are REALLY roaring there will be absolute silence inside the cave. Best sleep ever. No doubt enhanced by the long snow shoe or hike in to the mountains and the considerable effort required to dig a snow cave. Way harder than one might think to shovel out the required volume of snow as it compacts considerably under the weight of the snow above.

Wince said...

Yancey Ward said...
...all of me under the blankets, including my head, but my feet sticking out into the cold.

Add a toe tag and you’ll love the morgue.

James K said...

I like it cold too. We've shut off old steam radiators in the bedroom (otherwise it gets too hot), so I'm sure in the dead of winter it gets down to around 50 at night. From April to October we crank up the A/C so it's pretty chilly in the room, probably around 65. The A/C also helps block out the noise from outside (Manhattan near a busy intersection).

Bill Harshaw said...

A great story about John Adams and Ben Franklin traveling together and having to share the room, maybe the bed. One, IIRC Franklin, wanted the window open; the other not.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/54169/time-ben-franklin-and-john-adams-shared-bed

chuck said...

> Our bedroom used to be so cold, the glass of water froze a few times.

Snow used to blow in around the edges of the bedroom window frames in one of the old houses I lived in. Didn't seem a big deal at the time, the trip to the outhouse was more interesting. These days I set the thermostat to the low 60's and stick a foot out from under the covers if it gets too warm.

MountainMan said...

My wife likes it cold, she says we sleep better in a cold room with blankets over us, all year long.

rhhardin said...

Ah, I remembered the book title that "Sleeping in a Cold Room" reminded me of.

"Laughter in a Damp Climate," a collection of 1940s humor pieces from Punch.

rhhardin said...

A on the bed always points the other way so as to complete the lookout function.

Expat(ish) said...

@Marcus - I live in the SWF and went for a run two days ago around 5:30am - 59 degrees. I almost went in and got gloves!

It's sliders open and A/C off time!

-XC

Kate said...

My in-laws had a separate thermostat in their bedroom so that they could sleep cold while the rest of the house stayed cozy. That was the best layout.

I've slept cold too many times because I couldn't afford proper heat to be much of an enthusiast now.

Yancey Ward said...

When I was 16, my father converted the unfinished garage at the end of the house (a ranch style) into a den and a 4th bedroom- the room I moved into so that my oldest sister, 13 at the time, could have her own room separate from the two youngest who were still under the age of 10. However, he didn't extend the duct work to that end of the house, so my bedroom had no cooling or heat. In those years I lived in that bedroom, I learned both to sleep in very cold bedrooms (under 60 degrees F in the Winter regularly) and in hot bedrooms (over 80 degrees many Summer days). Fans and blankets are your friends.

wildswan said...

In Scotland I slept in a room with icicles hanging down into it from the skylight. You put a hot water bottle in the bed about forty minutes before you go to bed and drink Scotch by the fire till it's time. The entire bed is now warm, including the sheets and mattress down by your feet. You keep the bed warm with body heat and sleep warm. In the morning I had a hot towel from the heated towel rack for the dread moment when you step out from the shower into the unheated bathroom. Oatmeal for breakfast. Decentralized, non-furnace heating -it was fine.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...
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Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I like cool summer nights. Hot summer nights are unbearable.
In the winter, I want it a bit warmer because so much cold seeps in.

I have some friends who have a condo in winter park. They have 2 dogs and a cat and they bring them up there when they visit. They leave the windows open at night during the winter and it's freaking cold. Over-night air temperature in the mountains is often well below zero. She laughs when she tells me her poor animals are so cold they are all shivering under the covers looking for body heat.

She has invited me to stay a few times and I tell her no way unless they shut the dang windows and crank up the fireplace.

Yancey Ward said...

I lived in CT for almost 20 years, and I never had AC the entire time in the house, a 4 bedroom colonial style. I would usually avoid turning on the heat until the last parts of October. In the Winter, I kept the thermostat set at 62 all day long unless I had other people in the house. One very, very cold day in 2004 the fuel oil system feeding the furnace malfunctioned and the furnace shut down. I couldn't get it repaired until a couple of days later with the outdoor temperatures at night below zero Fahrenheit. I got through the first night with a temperature in the bedroom that got down to 45, but was forced to buy several electric space heaters just to keep the pipes and myself from freezing the second night. I slept fine in my down camping sleeping bag, but getting up that first morning was hard.

Tony said...

I am listening to the Audible version right now. The narrator, William Hootkins, is perfect.

iowan2 said...

OK, this is the pass that lets us do, 'back when I was a kid...?

Grew up in a late 1800's farm house. (the fixtures for gas lights where still up stairs)
Three bedrooms up stairs, three boys. I was the youngest and could have bunked with one of my brothers in the winter, but I chose to sleep in the NW room. Frost would form on the interior walls and water would freeze solid in a glass. I slept in a sleeping bag, with flannel sheets inside it, and an assortment of heavy quilts depending the anticipated overnite low.
But I slept very well, and still do to this day. Although I cant seem to sleep past 5:30 AM.

Darrell said...

It's also better if you should die in your sleep.
Kinder to first responders, smell-wise.

Bilwick said...

Queequeg was a world-class snuggler.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I can never read that passage without it involuntarily bringing to mind Leslie Fiedler's notion that American literature is an "idyll of homosexual miscegenation".

etienne said...

When I got married, I just assumed I was the one who was in charge of the thermostat.

One day at breakfast my wife informed me she didn't want me monkeying with the thermostat! What! That's right, she was in charge of that.

What if... No!
but what if... No!

...and that was that.

Unknown said...

this one came outta nowhere...

stevew said...

Early in our marriage (1980) we got in the habit of keeping the temperature low in the house. I had learned this from my parents who did so as a cost saving measure, so did we. Programmable thermostats allow us to keep the house at 62 when we are in it, and turn it down to 50 overnight. It is rare, in our current home, for the temperature to get that low; only on the coldest of winter nights. Friends and family like to make fun of us, but we don't care, we actually like it on the cool side. "Put on a sweatah", my mother would say. We do turn up the heat when my 86 year old mother-in-law is here. She visited a few weeks ago forcing us to turn the heat on - we usually leave it off until later October or early November. Old habits die hard.

My kids would always complain and often turn up the heat if we weren't around. Our son now has a house and two kids of his own. He and my daughter-in-law like the cooler temps too. My grand-daughters complain. "Put on a sweatah" he says. Our daughter, on the other hand, runs her house at sauna level temps. I can barely stay awake when I visit them.

Virgil Hilts said...

Sleeping in cool/cold room also helps weight loss (builds build the good type of brown fat). https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/lets-cool-it-in-the-bedroom/

Wince said...

In the cold: Moby Dick or Shrinkage Dick?

jwl said...

Cold bedrooms and flannel sheets are best, I love winter.

Mark said...

Must be hard to sleep in the summer if you like things that cold.

Gabriel said...

I like to sleep cold, but it makes it much harder for me to wake up if the room is cold.

So before I go to bed I turn up the thermostat in my room. By the time I wake up the room is warm. Then I turn off the bedroom heat for the day.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

flannel sheets - yes to.

Tom from Virginia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom from Virginia said...

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.

Bob Loblaw said...

This is actually a good thing for people with insomnia. Apparently one of the triggers your brain has to know it's time to sleep is a sharp drop in the temperature.

Bob Loblaw said...

I like to sleep cold, but it makes it much harder for me to wake up if the room is cold.

So before I go to bed I turn up the thermostat in my room. By the time I wake up the room is warm. Then I turn off the bedroom heat for the day.


Perfect place for a programmable thermostat. I used to program mine to go from the low 60s to the low 70s an hour before it was time to wake up.

Ann Althouse said...

"I am listening to the Audible version right now. The narrator, William Hootkins, is perfect."

There are many different narrators available for this book. Not surprising. I happen to be listening to Frank Muller.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm listening to this book, which I've had in my audio files for at least a couple years, because it struck me as a good place to go after I got through "Killing Commendatore." "KC" was a long book — 700 pages — and it's an elaborate, mystical, dangerous journey, but the adventure takes place on a landscape of a hillside with a hole in the ground. The activity is portrait-painting. And the monomaniac is fixated on a 12-year-old girl.

Ann Althouse said...

I bought flannel sheets, thinking they'd be pleasantly warm, but I can't use them. Just hate the texture. What I thought would feel cozily soft just seems rough when you so expect to encounter the sleek smoothness of percale. Despite the coolness of percale until you've warmed it up, I've got to have that smoothness. Nothing else is right.

Mark said...

I do sleep in a cold room -- because the bedroom walls of my post-war condo have no insulation. I hate it. I would rather not wear a hat when sleeping or long sleeve shirts or long pajama bottoms.

Mark said...

Of course, my body temp these days runs about 97, so I'm already not generating much heat myself.

Charlotte Allen said...

I've never gotten the cold-room thing. Maybe it's because when I was 23 and dirt-poor, I lived in an apartment that had no heat whatsoever--in Boston!--and I was too dumb to buy a space heater. The oven in the kitchen was it--and the kitchen was way down the hall from my bedroom. I was sick from one end of that winter to the next. Now, I keep the heat on all night during the winter, and I wear wool socks and a sweater as well as a sleep shirt and pajama bottoms. Also a blanket and a quilt, plus a pillow under my feet. I feel so cozy in my cocoon that I'm asleep immediately. I almost never catch cold (not to mention that getting up in the morning is no problem).

Of course I must say that our townhouse is not particularly well-insulated (1960s construction), especially in our bedroom, which has a wall-to-wall glass window with sliding door--so maybe we have an inadvertently cold room on cold nights.

Unknown said...

I have structural brick and hot water heat. If I program the thermostat for more than a 5 degree day/night difference, the boiler will run all day trying to get up to temperature, so 70 degrees 24/7.

I don't mind cool sleeping with lots of blankets, but I do mind having to wear long underwear inside during the day.

Replacing the 90 year old windows with modern triple panes has more than paid for itself.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Flannel must be high quality. Also, you gotta wash them a few times and use some fabric softener to get the best feel.

I love flannel because the soft texture gives the illusion of warmth and the 100% cotton breathes like a regular cotton sheet. No polyester for me. Makes me sweat.

Smooth cool sheets are nice if they are soft enough. No rough texture, that's for certain.

Virgil Hilts said...

Posting this 2 late, I know, but Ann mentioned Frank Muller. I started listening to audiobooks a long time ago - I think I was a subscriber to audible within its first three months. Frank Muller was my favorite narrator and I probably listened to at least a couple dozen books by him (I still remember his reading of the last couple pages of tale of two cities). When he sustained brain injuries in a motorcycle accident I felt really, really bad. I realized that I probably had spent more time listening to his voice than any other human I had ever known.

RigelDog said...

I completely concur that the ideal sleeping condition is having a very cold bedroom, all the better to feel the deliciousness of being warm and snug under sufficient blankets---I call this blissful condition "being Toasty-Cold." And thank you, Althouse, for highlighting this quote.

Caligula said...

An electric mattress pad may be cheating, but it can be used to warm the bed before one gets in it.

Because, sleeping in a cold room may be good, but, few anticipate getting into an icy-cold bed with much pleasure.

Our ancestors used bedwarmers.

gadfly said...

When I was a child, Mom and Dad lived in one side of Mom's parents' duplex in the West Virginia hills. A fireplace fired by coal heated the "downstairs" rooms in each side of the duplex and there was a gas cooking stove in the kitchen to help. In the single bathroom of the undivided upstairs, a small free standing gas heater prevailed, but four bedrooms were unheated and insulation was not a word that anyone used. Grandpa and Grandma occupied two of the bedrooms and my brother and I shared a third bedroom.

"Going to bed" on cold winter nights was a standard routine. Rush upstairs to the warm bathroom, bathe, put on flannel PJs and dive headfirst under the the bedcovers, which included two heavy handmade quilts. Headfirst allowed us to warm the bottom of the bed before resurfacing to put heads on pillows. Believe me, there was no other way to prevent cold feet.

When I married and had children of my own, I vowed that they would never know what sleeping in the cold was all about. With the few exception of electricity failures, they never slept without heat. Now the kids are gone and old age has slowed blood flow, so the house is kept warmer than it ever was - and the stupid gas company keeps reminding me that I use more gas than my neighbors. Socialism reigns supreme.