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0011 Getting Ready for Bed and Going to Sleep

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 11: Getting Ready for Bed and Going to Sleep

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode number eleven. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

In this episode, the last of our 10-part special series on daily English, I’ll talk about getting ready for bed and going to sleep.

Let’s get started!

[Start of story]

At 10:30, I decide to get ready for bed. When I was little, my mother would read me a bedtime story. I’m looking forward to having that ritual with my own kids someday.

I go into the bathroom and turn on the tap. I wash my face, and dry it with my towel. I floss and brush my teeth. I have to admit that by this time, I’m beat, and so is my wife. She cleans up when I’ve finished up.

In the meantime, I walk into the bedroom and get undressed. I put my dirty clothes in the hamper and I put on my pajamas. Wearing my slippers, I go into the kitchen to get a glass of water to put next to the bed in case I need it during the night. I pull back the covers, fluff my pillow, and climb into bed. I set my alarm clock for 6:15, and turn off the overhead light. I lay my head down and pull up the covers, kissing my wife goodnight. Some nights I have trouble falling asleep, but tonight, I didn’t need to count any sheep. I nod off right away and before long, I’m fast asleep.

[End of story]

This episode is called "Getting Ready for Bed and Going to Sleep."

"At 10:30, I decide to get ready for bed," to do the things I need to do so I can go to sleep. "When I was little, my mother would read me a bedtime story." “Bedtime” (bedtime) – all one word – is, of course, the time that you go to bed - that you go to your bed so you can sleep. A bedtime story is a story you would tell a child to help them fall asleep. Many children like to be told a bedtime story. These are often what we would call “fairy tales” (fairy) “tales” (tales). A “tale” is just another word for a story, and a fairy tale is a story about something that isn't true, usually with imaginary characters.

"I’m looking forward to having that ritual with my own kids someday." "I’m looking forward to having that ritual." A “ritual” (ritual) is something that you do on a regular schedule or at a regular time every day or maybe every week or every month, and you do the exact same things in the exact same order. We also use that word, ritual, when we are talking about some religious ceremonies. Some religious events have certain rules - certain order - a certain order that they follow, and that is a ritual.

"I go into the bathroom and I turn on the tap." The “tap” (tap) is the same as the faucet. Well, you turn on the tap so the water comes out. "I wash my face, and dry it with my towel." I dry my face - I make it dry using a “towel” (towel) which is a cloth that you use to dry yourself, or to clean yourself. I floss my teeth and I brush them.

"I have to admit that by this time, I’m beat." "I have to admit" is an expression that we use when you're going to say something that maybe you don't want to say - you don't want to tell the truth. In fact, there's also an expression, "to tell the truth." So, I have to admit means I have to say - to tell the truth. "By this time," meaning by 10:30 - "by this time, I’m beat." To be beat, "beat," means to be very tired. Someone says, "Oh, I'm beat," they've been working all day or they've, like me, been watching television all day, and now I'm beat - I'm tired. Of course, I don't watch television all day, just part of the day!

Well, my wife is also beat. In the story I say, "I'm beat, and so is my wife," meaning my wife is also very tired. "She cleans up when I’ve finished up." Once again, you see those two-word verbs. To clean up is, in this case, to clean your face, to brush your teeth; to get yourself clean is to clean up. “To finish up” is really the same as to finish, but we love in English to use those prepositions as part of these two word verbs. So, I finish up, meaning I finish doing what I need to do, and then my wife goes into the bathroom and cleans up.

"In the meantime," meaning while my wife is doing that. "In the meantime" (meantime) – all one word – I walk into the bedroom and get undressed." So, when my wife is in the bathroom, "I walk" - at the same time - "into the bedroom and I get undressed." “To get undressed” is the opposite of to get dressed. So, if you get undressed, you take off your clothes.

"I put my dirty clothes" - the clothes I was wearing - "in the hamper and I put on my pajamas." A “hamper” (hamper) as a noun, is a place, usually in your bedroom or bathroom, where you put dirty clothes or dirty towels; we call that a hamper. “To hamper,” as a verb, means something different. “To hamper someone” means to get in their way - to prevent them from doing something. But as a noun, a hamper, or a clothes hamper, is a place, usually it's a big plastic box with a top on it, or it could be made of wood, and that's where you put your dirty clothes. And then, at some point during the week, I hope, you wash your clothes so you can have clean clothes again. Unless, of course, you're not married, in which case, if you are a man and single, you may not wash your clothes that much.

Well, I have "my dirty clothes in my hamper," and since I don't have any clothes on, remember I have undressed, "I put on my pajamas." “Pajamas” (pajamas) are sometimes abbreviated as “PJs” (PJ) – PJs. Your pajamas, or PJs, are the clothes that you wear when you are going to bed. For example, I have pajamas that say Superman on it, and I wear my Superman pajamas to bed. Doesn't everyone?

Well, in addition to putting on my pajamas, I also put on my slippers. A “slipper” (slipper) is a shoe that you wear usually just inside the house. So, when you are getting ready for bed and you want to walk around the house, you don't put your shoes on, you would put some slippers on. Some people wear slippers in their house, especially if the floors are cold, and they'll put the slippers on at night and have them on at night as they walk around in their house or in the morning.

Well, "Wearing my slippers, I go into the kitchen to get a glass of water," and I want to put that water "next to my bed in case I need it during the night." So, if I need to drink water at night, I have a glass of water next to me. "I pull back the covers." The “covers” (covers) are the blanket, the comforter, and the top sheets. We take those things and we have to pull them back. To pull back means to take them and move them towards the bottom of the bed so that you can get in, and after you get in, you're going to pull the covers up. So, you pull back the covers to get into the bed, and then you pull them up to cover you again so you can stay warm.

"I pull back my covers," and I "fluff my pillow." The pillow is what I put my head on. “To fluff” (fluff) means to make your pillow bigger by hitting it very softly on the sides. So, you take your pillow and you put one hand on each side of the pillow and you move your hands back and forth toward each other and away from each other, and that allows the pillow to be a little bigger - to be a little softer.

"I fluff my pillow, and I climb into bed." Notice that verb “to climb” (climb) into bed. It means the same as to get into bed. We might use that particular verb, to climb into, if we are very tired, for example. You can also use it just to mean to get into bed.

So, I "climb into bed. I set my alarm clock for 6:15," - for 6:15 in the morning, of course - "and I turn off the overhead light." The “overhead” (overhead) – all one word – is a light that is on the top of your room - on the ceiling of the room. The top of the room is called the “ceiling” (ceiling). So, an overhead light is on the top of the ceiling - or on the ceiling, and I turn the overhead light off.

"I lay my head down." “To lay” (lay) here means to put something down. Usually we use that verb when we are talking about people or a part of your body. "I lay my head down and I pull up the covers," so I am warm, and because I'm such a great husband, I kiss "my wife goodnight." “To kiss someone goodnight,” means to kiss them and in a sense, to say goodnight to them. "Some nights I have trouble falling asleep." “To fall (fall) asleep (asleep)” means to go to sleep - to start sleeping.

Sometimes "I have trouble falling asleep, but tonight, I didn’t need to count any sheep." The expression “to count sheep” (sheep) is used because we traditionally when we are trying to fall asleep, some people say that it helps if you try counting numbers, so you start with one, two, three, four. And, for some reason, I don't know why, it is traditional to count sheep. Sheep are a type of animal. A sheep is an animal that you take the hair off of, and you use the hair of the sheep to make clothing, for example. I don't need to count sheep because I'm very tired. If you are not tired or you have difficulty falling asleep, you might want to try counting sheep. One, two, three, four, and by the time you reach five million you should be asleep!

"I nod off right away." “To nod (nod) off” – two words – means the same as to fall asleep. It's just another way of saying fall asleep, "I nod off." Sometimes people will use that expression when they're at a meeting and it is very boring at work, and you may say to someone, "I almost nodded off" - I almost fell asleep. That usually happens to my students when I am teaching.

"Before long," meaning in a very short time – "before long, I’m fast asleep." “To be fast (fast) asleep” means to be completely asleep. There's a similar expression that means the same, “to be sound asleep” (sound). “To be sound asleep” means that you are sleeping completely, it will not be easy to wake you up.

Now let's listen to the story, this time at a native rate of speech.

[Start of story]

At 10:30, I decide to get ready for bed. When I was little, my mother would read me a bedtime story. I’m looking forward to having that ritual with my own kids someday.

I go into the bathroom and turn on the tap. I wash my face, and dry it with my towel. I floss and brush my teeth. I have to admit that by this time, I’m beat, and so is my wife. She cleans up when I’ve finished up.

In the meantime, I walk into the bedroom and get undressed. I put my dirty clothes in the hamper and I put on my pajamas. Wearing my slippers, I go into the kitchen to get a glass of water to put next to the bed in case I need it during the night. I pull back the covers, fluff my pillow, and climb into bed. I set my alarm clock for 6:15, and turn off the overhead light. I lay my head down and pull up the covers, kissing my wife goodnight. Some nights I have trouble falling asleep, but tonight, I didn’t need to count any sheep. I nod off right away and before long, I’m fast asleep.

[End of story]

Make listening to her scripts part of your daily English learning ritual. I speak of our very own scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy!

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan, thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006.

Glossary
bedtime story – a story that adults read to children before they go to sleep at night

* Can you read me one more bedtime story before I have to go sleep?

ritual – something that is done repeatedly and in the same way every time

* His morning ritual includes drinking a cup of coffee, eating a banana, and taking the dog for a walk.

tap – faucet; the metal thing that water flows through into a sink

* Please turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. It’s wrong to waste water.

towel – a soft piece of fabric that absorbs water and helps someone or something become dry

* Yuki always uses two towels when she showers: one for her body, and one for her hair.

beat – very tired; exhausted

* After working on the report for 14 hours, I was beat and I wanted to go to sleep.


undressed – without clothes; not wearing clothes; naked

* You should always close the bedroom curtains before you get undressed.

hamper – a container for dirty clothes

* Make sure you do the laundry when the hamper is full.

pajamas – clothes worn while sleeping

* My cotton pajamas are the most comfortable clothes that I own. I love sleeping in them.

slippers – soft, warm shoes that are worn only inside the house

* She often puts her slippers in front of the fireplace to warm them before she puts them on her feet.

to pull back – to fold back; to move back

* When she heard the doorbell, she quietly pulled back the curtains to see who was at the front door.



covers – the layers of fabric that cover a bed

* Our cat likes to sleep in our bed under the covers, but we don’t allow her to do that.


to fluff – to make something larger and softer by hitting or brushing it

* I can’t sleep on a hard pillow so I always fluff my pillows at night.

overhead – on the ceiling; over one’s head

* Overhead lights are good in living rooms and dining rooms, but in bedrooms I prefer a small table lamp so that I can read before falling asleep.

to lay down – to put something or oneself in a horizontal (sideways) position

* I laid down the book I had been reading and turned out the lights.

to fall asleep – to begin to sleep

* Drinking a glass of warm milk often helps Jacomo fall asleep at night.

to count sheep – to imagine sheep jumping over a fence and to count them as a way of falling asleep

* Do you ever try counting sheep when you have trouble falling asleep?

to nod off – to start to sleep, often without intending or wanting to

* He was so tired that he was nodding off during the meeting. His boss was not happy.

fast asleep – sleeping soundly; sleeping very well; sleeping and unaware of other things happening

* The little boy was fast asleep when they got home and he didn’t wake up as his father carried him to bed.

Culture Note
Summertime Safety

Many people look forward to the return of warmer “temperatures” (how cold or warm it is outside) in the spring and summer months. Whether you're relaxing in the “backyard” (outdoor area behind one’s house), “gardening” (planting and growing flowers, vegetables, and other plants), enjoying the “pool” (small area built for swimming), or exploring “the great outdoors” (nature), here are some ways to help keep you and your family healthy this spring and summer.

In the warmer months, people like to cook food on the “grill” (metal surface placed over fire to cook meat and vegetables). When grilling, use a meat “thermometer” (device used to measure temperature) to make sure that you cook meat and “poultry” (chicken and other birds people eat) thoroughly. Also, put cooked meat on a clean “platter” (large plate), rather than back on the one that held the “raw” (uncooked) meat, to avoid “cross-contamination” (the transfer of “bacteria” (harmful substance that causes illness) from one place to another).

“Binge drinking” is when people drink five or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about two hours. Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including:

- “Motor vehicle” (cars, trucks, and more) “crashes” (hitting each other or some other thing).

- “Drowning” (dying from breathing in too much water)

- “High blood pressure” (too much force in moving blood through the body) and other “cardiovascular” (related to the heart) diseases.

Prevent skin cancer” (disease where “abnormal” (not normal) cells in the body grow in abnormal ways). Avoid being outdoors during the “midday” (the middle of the day) if the sun is “intense” (very strong), use “sunscreen” (lotion or liquid to protect one’s skin from the effects of the sun), “cover up” (protect the skin) with clothing, wear a “brimmed hat” (hat with a wide edge at the bottom to cover the face), and wear “sunglasses” (dark glasses) that block harmful “rays” (light from the sun).