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The World’s Greatest Sleepers

February 21, 2017

I was at work last week, fighting a nasty bout of  bronchitis and kept nodding off at my desk. I thought I was being very sly, but someone walked past, noticed and mentioned it to me. He said it looked like I was in deep thought, but I think he was just being kind.

I know what I look like when I’m nodding off and it is definitely neither thoughtful looking nor attractive. I never think I’ll do it, but learned years ago that nothing can stop a determined Tunno sleep gene.

Fran Asleep in grass.jpg

This is what happens in college when you have Tunno sleep genes.  Your so-called friends take incriminating photos of you.

When I was in college, I used to go to the library to “study.” There was a large square pillar just past the entrance to the library and there were big cushy chairs on each of the four sides of the pillar. I used to position myself in the chair right in front of the entrance, thinking it was a great place to study. My logic was, I won’t fall asleep, I’ll be too embarrassed to sleep in full view of everyone.


Then I would run into people in the next day or two, who’d say, “Hey, I saw you sleeping in the library yesterday!” So much for my too embarrassed theory. Humiliation can’t compete with a sleep gene honed over generations.

When I was five or six, we used to go to 5 o’clock mass because my dad worked on Sundays. Bernie would have just pulled in from a night out with his friends and my dad would drag us all out of bed to go to church early because if we didn’t go with him, we wouldn’t go, since Mom didn’t drive. I recall standing beside Bernie and looking up at him. He could stand in church, head down looking seemingly pious, and be totally asleep.  He’s still able to pull it off. (See below.)

Bernie Asleep.jpg

Bernie, in a food coma, after a Christmas Eve meal – still able to pull off the pious look.

My dad, an excellent sleeper,  was a puffer, sleeping heavily and blowing a little puff of air into the room. He slept best when the TV was on. As soon as you turned it off, he’d awaken startled, as if a gun had gone off beside his head.


If my mother was still around, she would skin me alive for posting this exhausted shot of her. One of my brothers put the paper on her head.

My mom usually nodded off after cooking and cleaning all day, collapsing in a heap on the couch.

My brothers, my sister and I are afflicted with the ability to doze off anywhere, but are most impressive right after a good heavy meal. I would post a photo of my sister asleep, but if I did, she would fly to California and behead me.

Bob Asleep.jpg

Bob also comatose after a Christmas meal. His son, Patrick orchestrated this Virgin Mary shot.



I now totally understand my mom’s caffeine addiction.  One latte will never be enough.

I guess the honeymoon’s over. A job you find yourself nodding off at is a job you’ve now gotten used to. Guess I’ll have to start buying espresso in bulk.


  • Reply
    Happy National Public Sleeping Day! – At Fran's Table
    February 28, 2019 at 2:09 am

    […] February 28th,  is National Public Sleeping Day, I am re-posting a blog from a while back, called, The World’s Greatest Sleepers, with some pretty stellar photos of Tunno’s in what appear to be comas. I promise to have a […]

  • Reply
    Julia A. Shure
    February 23, 2017 at 8:50 am

    So funny, Fran. And you are so lucky to have that gene. We are insomniacs here, often up at at 3 or 4 am anxiously fretting about the state of the world.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 23, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Well Julia, I gave up worrying about it. I just hope when we go, we go quick. It’s the best one can hope for. Or better yet, that I sleep right through it! Try Tension Tamer Tea, it’s wonderful, makes me sleep even better, if that’s possible!

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    February 22, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I meant “I’ve seen”. I need to proof read before I hit send instead of after. I think faster than I type.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 22, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Oh Chas, I totally understood and love that you always read my blogs and that you always take the time to comment. I’ll bet you have seen more Tunno heads bobbing than you can probably believe. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, we all seem to be good sleepers. We’ll have to research that! xoxox

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    February 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve the “Bernie Head Bob” many times. And I’ve seen the “Bob Head Bob” on the bus to New York a few times too. I can sleep on demand, even standing up. Nancy says it’s a gift, because she has a harder time. When I saw the headline about sleepers, it reminded me that’s what my own Italian mother called pajamas. “Go put your sleepers on”.

  • Reply
    Dawn Wilkins
    February 21, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Hey Fran, this is great. I’m laughing so hard I can barely type. I have a very distinct memory of trying to wake you from a deep sleep in psych class while in college…

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      I am certain this reflects some lack of vitamin, or maybe it’s just a lack of basic pride…whatever the case, there are others who suffer too, and that helps! By the way, thanks for the starring photo in this post. As I recall it was you and Tom who orchestrated the shot, but I unfortunately obliged.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I’m with you, Fran. My friends and co-workers have dubbed me “Nicolepsy” because I can and will fall asleep ANYwhere, including when an old boss comes to the office to give a run-down, and at the dinner table with company I invited over to share a meal and wine…

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Oh Nicol, this makes me love you even more and makes me even more convinced we are probably related! Too funny, NIcolepsy. I love that!

  • Reply
    Cathy Fishburn
    February 21, 2017 at 10:37 am

    You are not alone Fran. My hubby sleeps sitting up in his chair almost before his rear hits the seat. Me, on the other hand, wait till I am in bed reading like a normal person. Darn that Kindle hurts when it hits me in the nose.🙂

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      I know, for me it’s my Ipad! It comes crashing down on my chin. They say using electronics before you sleep is bad, but hey, if it helps you, then go for it Cathy! Give your husband a hug from a fellow narcoleptic!

  • Reply
    Mary J. Tunno
    February 21, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Fran, my sleep Jean wasn’t quite in full force, hence my comment posting at 4:29 a.m. (Christi woke me up) but your story was, “putty chockally,” as our mother would have said, so I had to comment. I am not into beheadings but glad you were smart & thought twice not to post a “here’s Mary sleeping photo” in your blog. LOL! Another great one. Keep that job, feel better! 🙂

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks, I’m hoping to keep the job and will get a good night’s sleep tonight! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

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