Reflection, Research


Recently, I have found myself pondering some of life’s small, yet troubling mysteries. I’ve just finished doing the laundry, and you’ve read the title, so you already know where I am going to start. You guessed it,

What in the heck happened to my other sock?

Since we’ve retired, my husband and I have both lost many socks (a total first-world problem, I know). But seriously, where have they gone? We are both reasonably good housekeepers, so we didn’t accidentally leave one in between the couch cushions or lurking behind the clothes hamper. We didn’t just get half-dressed one day and wear a single sock home from the gym, and, unless they were covered in cheese, it is highly unlikely that our dog ate them. Although, according to the Inquisitr, 43 socks were once found inside the stomach of a Great Dane (note to all animal lovers: the dog has since fully recovered). This is an age-old question, with a broad range of answers ranging from Jerry Seinfeld’s classic stand-up to innovative websites exclusively dedicated to swingin’ singles socks. According to less tongue-in-cheek publications, with reduced flair for drama, if nowhere else in the house, your missing socks are likely caught somewhere in the depths of your inner washer/dryer (e.g. the gap between the washer tub and the drum, or in your dryer’s vent ducting). But please do not tell Richard this or our washer and dryer will be in pieces on the laundry room floor–he loves his socks!

Why am I more hungry after eating breakfast than when I skip it?

How many times have you been told about the importance of eating a good breakfast? The long-standing belief has been that breakfast gives you energy, provides essential nutrients, stimulates metabolism, boosts alertness, yadda, yadda, yadda (source). While I’ve been a long-time believer in breakfast, it seems a bit counter-intuitive that I am still hungry after eating a morning meal, and not hungry at all when going without. When I decline breakfast, due to 9 am yoga, I can easily forget about food until noon. When I do eat breakfast, more often than not, I find myself ravenous by mid-morning. It turns out that on their own, or in the wrong combinations, some foods like toast, bagels, muffins, juice and several fruits and cereals, can cause a spike, then subsequent drop, in blood sugar levels which send your body a signal that it is time to eat again (source). To counteract this, nutritionists recommend a high fiber, highly satisfying morning meal (think whole grain plus fat/protein) and experimenting with a smaller lunch or smaller dinner (source). However, it doesn’t end there. Many recent research studies now claim that the earlier research was observational, meaning that yes, breakfast eaters were often found to be healthier, but not necessarily because of when they ate their first meal of the day (source). Still others swear by skipping breakfast, citing research findings that claim breakfast does not manage blood sugar, does not increase metabolism, nor prevent muscle breakdown and confirming that breakfast can make you hungrier afterwards (source). This latter group often lists intermittent fasting as one reason for skipping breakfast and argues that this type of fasting not only reduces calorie intake and contributes to weight loss but also improves metabolic health, cardiovascular function, and blood glucose levels (source, source). I definitely discovered more than I was looking for here. At least now I can feel a bit less guilty, and understand why I am often less hungry when skipping a morning meal.

How can I possibly be more tired after a longer sleep?

In my career life, I mostly survived on five or six hours of sleep per work night, with a few slightly longer catch up nights on weekends. Since I’ve retired, I have been striving for a nightly eight-hour sleep (which honestly is hit and miss). What I have noticed is that on nights that I sleep longer, I am not always more refreshed…sometimes, much less so. This totally does not make sense, nor seem remotely fair. Thus, I’ve added it to my life’s (presently) unsolved mysteries.

According to sleep experts, one reason you may feel poorly refreshed after a longer sleep is that your internal clock has come out of balance with the external clock, similar to jet lag (source).

Our sleep takes place in cycles. Each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long—give or take—and the average person has roughly five sleep cycles per night. When you sleep in, you often get woken up mid-cycle. If you wake up from your deep sleep, or REM, you can feel more tired and groggy upon awakening (source).

Recommendations to help keep your body clock on-track include: (1) Expose yourself to bright morning light, and engage in physical activity as early as possible (which are also common cures for jet-lag). (2) Regularly go to bed, and wake-up at roughly the same time each day, including weekends and holidays (yeah, right, next…). (3) Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and computer work immediately prior to bedtime as all three can keep you out of a deep sleep in the early part of your sleep cycle. Then your body may try making up for this much later when it is actually time to wake up. Hmmm, maybe advice number two was not so bad after all (source, source)!

Have a life’s little mystery of your own? Please share it here.


  1. Absolutely agree on the first one. Where the hell do they go? When we had the dogs, Thea particularly, loved the children’s dirty socks – we lost dozens that way. But now we have no dogs, the cats are not here, we have an ayi again (yay!), but we still lose socks in the wash. How? Drives me insane… In France I have a whole basket of single socks, maybe 20 different, single, socks… ridiculous.

    Breakfast? I knew that. If I don’t eat breakfast, I don’t miss it, and can go through to the evening. If I do eat breakfast, I’m hungry by lunch time. My theory is: if you get your digestive juices working in the morning, by lunch they start looking around for something else. Let those sleeping dogs lie & they won’t wake up til the evening. Works for me in any case!

    Life is full of mystery, Donna, now you are retired you’ll have time to contemplate them all. 🙂 After spending a day in Japanese temple gardens we’re contemplating how to get soft springy moss to grow in our south-of-France arid garden….


    1. Hi, Helen – Your mystery is a hard one. WikiHow does offer several steps (with pictures) for growing moss (both indoors and out). They also suggest that you can get your moss by mail order if not available at your local nursery. Warning: Their steps do involve making “moss milkshakes”! If that is not quite your thing, another site offers ‘How to make Kokedama Moss Balls’ … if you ever do make them, please post pics!



  2. Lol, Donna I would never find the time to research and write….to busy knitting, reading, playing words with friends etc. however I love reading your blog always puts a smile on my face, makes we do some inner soul thinking…..keep up the great work!


    1. Thanks, Georgia – Your comments help solve the mystery of why I am losing against you in Words with Friends…and why my turn is long overdue! Thanks for reading!


  3. Yes, dear Donna…please answer this: Why oh why can I get on the scale first thing in the morning, and be more or less satisfied with my weight, then get on the scale again after my shower, and weigh 3 or 4 pounds MORE! Wet hair just does NOT weigh that much!!! 🙂


    1. Ah, Lynn, another great mystery…and another one of my husband’s complaints! My understanding is that this is caused by pores opening up and absorbing moisture in the skin (and yes, the hair too). As water weighs 8 pounds per gallon — absorbing even as little as 1/4 gallon will add two pounds! Thanks for sharing this mystery–I love this one!


  4. I keep a little box in my closet to collect wayward socks. Eventually… hopefully… they are reunited with their mate, but I have no idea where they’ve been until then. Out carousing, I suspect. You are absolutely right about breakfast. I often skip it because I’m just not hungry before 10 or so – then it seems too close to lunch time so I wait. But, if I have breakfast at a “normal” time, I’m way more hungry by noon.


    1. Great idea about the ‘missing socks box’, Janis. Our wandering socks never do seem to return…but there is always hope!


  5. Hi Donna, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I gave up on solving the sock mystery and just keep a basket in the laundry room for unmatched socks. OInce a month or so I throw out anything that’s been in there too long. Nine times out of ten the mate shows up the following week, but looking at the big picture, socks are a small thing to worry about and they are relatively cheap to replace. I hope you are enjoying retirement as much as we are. It does take some adjustment, but we are loving it!


    1. Thanks, Jann! We are definitely enjoying retirement, and have been allowing time for the adjustments along the way. I love your blog and will definitely be back.


    1. This is one of the biggest mysteries of all, Barbara. According to Gretchen Rubin, and other ‘happiness’ researcher, long term happiness is not derived from material possessions. Rather, research lists close relationships, active engagement in meaningful activity, caring for others, awareness of strengths/virtues, regular sleep/healthy food/exercise, spiritual engagement, and gratitude as critical factors in happiness and satisfaction. Thanks for posting such an important question (much higher level reflection than pondering missing socks)!


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