Banks County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 6, 2002


By: Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
November 6, 2002

Getting your mind out of the gutters
It’s that time of year, again. Summer has sounded the retreat. And as usual, it slunk out of town like a coward. In its wake, the sky is full of falling leaves.
And those of us who stayed behind await the battle. We are the last line of defense. And gutters are the enemy.
I don’t want this to sound like a panicky call to arms, but gutters are destroying my peace of mind. It’d be different if the gutters were mine. I do own them, but that’s only because they came with the house. I didn’t pick them out.
If I had of picked them out, they would have been a whole lot more user friendly. Something along the lines of being self-cleaning would have been acceptable.
But short of that, I would have settled for something less than the diabolical instruments of death and destruction I have to deal with now.
The theory is simple enough. You put gutters on your house to keep the water from running down the back of your neck when you try to unlock the back door in a monsoon.
That works okay most of the time. But they don’t call the season Fall for nothing. It’s a signal for all the leaves within ten square miles of your house to “fall” into your gutters and clog them up.
At our house, we don’t have gutters, we have Leaf Motels. The only thing my gutters don’t offer is a heated swimming pool and spa.
In great masses, the leaves come. They bring their family, their pets, their lawn chairs, and their grills, and before you know it, they’re complaining about not having cable.
All the while, my gutters are gaping wide open like the official welcoming committee for the Great Southern Leaf Migration.
By then, I’m way beyond any sales pitches about gutter screens, gutter guards, or gutter helmets. I want a line of defense that leaves can’t penetrate. I want gutter bunkers on the sides of my house.
And if I can’t have bunkers, I at least want a little fair warning.
When the sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky, hit me in the head with a rake and say, “Your gutters are packed full of leaves, and when it rains the water will spill over the gutter and down the back of your neck as you try to unlock your door.”
But it never happens that way. It never dawns on me that trouble is brewing in my gutters until the waterfall appears over the doorway.
That’s when I go out in a cold driving rainstorm with a ladder and try to beat the gutters at their own game. It’s always a dumb thing to do.
And it never does much good because the stupid ladder is always too short to reach the one spot where ninety per cent of the leaves are jammed up.
In case you didn’t know, ladders are the enemy, too.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.


By: Rochelle Beckstine
he Banks County News
November 6, 2002

Eight hours sleep good, Nine hours sleep deadly
Too much sleep can kill you or so Boston University School of Medicine says.
In the past several months three longitudinal studies have found a link between getting nine hours or more of sleep and death.
None of these studies began with the intent of studying sleep and mortality rates, yet the data seemed to emerge on its own.
In July, Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University, released findings he found in the Framingham Heart Study which alarmingly suggest too much sleep is more detrimental to health than too little sleep.
In the study of 4,541 men and women, people who slept nine hours or more were 70 percent more likely to die during a 14-year period than those who slept seven to eight hours. Those who slept six hours or less were only 50 percent more likely to die.
These findings confirm results presented earlier in the year that suggested people who slept less than eight hours may live longer. But they also reject the earlier study’s claim that five to seven hours is optimal.
It is clear from the Framingham study that seven to eight is indeed the magic number.
So we should be sleeping with an oven timer, not an alarm clock.
This data is startling, especially if you consider that cigarette smoking is associated with only a 50 percent mortality risk. You’re more likely to die if you sleep nine hours or more than if you smoke.
But Gottlieb said it’s too early to jump to conclusions since the study shows an association and not cause and effect.
“It needs more study,” he said. Adding, “We recommend a lot of lifestyle changes and medications for risks smaller than this.”
So what he really means is don’t sleep more than eight hours and see a doctor if you sleep more than that, you’ll live longer.
In another study, still ongoing, researchers found a similar link between the development of heart disease and sleep in 71,167 women.
After adjusting for confounding factors like exercise, smoking, snoring and body mass index, women who slept more than nine hours were 37 percent more likely to have a heart attack during 10 years of follow up. Those who slept five or less hours were 39 percent more likely. Women who slept six hours had an 18 percent increased risk.
Because this study factored out people who had other risk factors for higher mortality, this study seems to suggest that sleep alone caused the 37 percent increased risk, yet there could be an underlying health condition making the women sleepy and ultimately killing them.
Scientists warn there are problems with the data. All relied on self reports of sleep time so people may be lying in bed, reporting they are sleeping, when they are not.
There is one thing every study agrees with: more research is needed.
But it will take time.
The best data is gleaned from a longitudinal study which follows a large group of men and women over a long period of time. I would think it would be at least a decade before any firm results are in. In the meantime, I’m sure doctors will try to explain the link by studying the physiological effects of too much sleep. They know getting too little sleep causes chemical problems in the body like insulin resistance and increased stress hormone levels. In fact, too little sleep even impairs the immune system. But there’s no good explanation for a cause and effect relationship between too much sleep.
What is clear is a very definite link between sleep and mortality.
At this point, scientists speculate that sleeping nine or more hours is a symptom of a greater health problem like sleep apnea which interrupts sleep or a more serious underlying condition.
Definitely worth a trip to the doctor.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.
Send us a letter
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

® Copyright 2002 MainStreet Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy

Home / Job Market / Real Estate / Automotive / Classifieds
News from Jackson / News from Madison / News from Banks / Sports
Jackson Community / Banks Community / Madison Community

Archives / Advertising / Printing / History / Links / Search Site
Send a Letter / Subscribe / Place a Classified Ad / Online Rates