Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Nearly everyone I know is going around feeling tired. For sure, this is a busy world but is there more to this?

There is. It’s sleep deprivation that we’re all suffering from.

I’ve found a compelling study from the States which shows all the top athletes are now treating sleep as importantly as diet. The data is compelling. Sleep enough and your accuracy in tennis improves by up to 42%. Which, of course, is why that master tennis player, Roger Federer, sleeps 11 – 12 hours a night. Now that is serious teenage sleeping. That is, in fact, professional sleeping. And it’s also why the champion skier Lindsey Vonn says “I love to sleep”.

I’m with Lindsey. And I’m against all those alpha males telling me 4 hours a night is plenty. Being knackered isn’t macho, it’s crackers. I believe it may well be they’ll discover the financial crisis was brought about by crack bankers having too little sleep.

Two other myths to debunk.

Cigarette manufacturers telling us – do you recall the straight faces with which they did so? – that cigarette advertising made people change brands not want to take up smoking. Balloney. I was exposed to a raft of old ads at Sheffield Park Railway Station on the Bluebell line recently which is an authentic trip into the past and the romance of steam trains and the wonderfully blunt world of great poster advertising for Brasso, Camp Coffee (“the best”) and cigarettes. As someone who’d long given up I was struck by how suddenly and desperately I wanted a cigarette, Woodbine “the great little cigarette” or Players or Craven A….anything.

And finally the theory about “just in time” which I’ve always worried about as it seemed to me to be another way of saying “nearly too late” or as Honda are discovering “much too late.” They’ll run out of parts in the USA and UK in the next five weeks. Just in time makes sense only in a perfect world.

So tomorrow I’m going to stock up with essentials, smoke a few cigarettes and then get off to bed for a very long time.

Just like the old days.

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