I am a great sleeper and I truly love my sleep. In fact, I have been known on occasion to love my sleep more than I love Mrs Youcantbeserious! And no, Lads, I don’t accept that this makes me ‘a dozy oul so n so!’

Sleep is nature’s greatest gift to man. I know unfortunates who rarely enjoy the pleasure of a sound night’s sleep. This is an awful affliction. Such insomniacs can sometimes be helped and if you are a sufferer, don’t suffer in silence, but instead try every possible solution until you hit the right one.

I am not an ‘early to bed’ man. Maybe this habit stems from all the years of working late shifts. Now I read, write or watch TV up until midnight. But as soon as Sky News and CNN deliver the twelve o’clock news, the system that runs my head begins to drastically shut down.

No cat to be put out, or fire to be raked, so I pull myself up the stairs as far as the king-size. Maybe a couple of pages of a book here, but by now the glorious waves of slumber engulf me and I know nothing more until 07.00 in the morning.

I know they tell us that we should have eight hours sleep, but seven is just right for me. Actually, on that one, I read somewhere that two-thirds of the world’s population don’t sleep for eight hours.

We need to sleep for around a third of our lives and this is why I feel so sorry for poor sleepers. It isn’t always that the light sleepers are doing less during the day, it is just how they are.

But having an active engine is what I attribute my sound sleep pattern to. I am always ‘doing something’ and a healthy tiredness is the result of keeping busy with mind and body. The ‘value added’ gift that I possess is that I can cat-nap almost at will. Once or twice during every day, I put my head in my hands, elbows on knees and immediately drift off into soothing oblivion for ten or fifteen minutes.

I can do this trick at airports, on a bus, train, plane, or just about anywhere and normal noise doesn’t interfere with it. Another way I buck the trend is that I can have had a dozen cups of coffee and still sleep the heavenly sleep. Anyway, that’s enough about me for the moment – or in the immortal words of Bill O’Herlihy, “We’ll leave it there for now.”

Some neuroscientist claims that a good night’s shut-eye, can make us, cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier and healthier. (I rest my case, Lads!) Many of those who study sleep patterns will tell us that if we need an alarm clock to wake up, we haven’t had sufficient sleep. Lack of sleep demolishes our immune system and at least one scientist puts those not sleeping enough at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Perhaps you have noticed a desire to eat more when you are tired? Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry, while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction.

You will never hear me say that I ‘slept like a baby.’ I don’t know where that expression comes from, but for any parent that ever walked the floor with a baby who cried a few times during the night, ‘like a baby’ is not the way you want to sleep!

Another myth we are going to crack here is that older adults need less sleep. Some older people just get it harder to sleep, but the need is still there. You will maybe observe your granny snoozing sometime during the day in order to clock in the required sleep time.

Dreaming goes with sleeping like cabbage goes with bacon. The ancient Egyptians believed that dreams were sent from the gods on high. Sometimes we can enjoy a lovely dream, whilst more often we are relieved to waken from a horrible scene. I generally do not remember all of my dreams but I know people who can relate the entire saga of all of their dream.

Here again, we are told that there are people who not only become aware that they are dreaming, but can even control how and what they dream. (OK, Lads … I’ll let you know when I find out how that one works!)

Finally, there are those who take a sleeping pill in order to get some sleep. This column is not qualified to comment on sleeping tablets; but we will say, that like all medicines rely solely on the advice of your doctor – and anything you don’t need, don’t take.

Don’t Forget

The emptier the pot, the quicker the boil.

Bernie Comaskey Books
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