Wednesday 14 August 2019

Trying to Sleep

I was writing a review of the fantastically fascinating, engaging and entertaining (I liked this book) Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and realised that as I typed, I had that sludgy, slightly nauseous feeling of discomfort, commonly known as: someone is trying to tell me something.

I’m pushing it on that old sleep thing again. 


Maybe a sequel to Tea & Chemo should be the trials and tribulations of getting enough sleep? Although I fear the book would be very short and very repetitive, here's the blurb: she wants to sleep, she knows she should sleep but she finds it so very difficult to go to bed. And repeat.

The bottom line is, I want it all, but I just can’t squeeze it all in. And the truth is that when I skimp on the sleep, I can.

When I examine my work, it’s the wealth of correspondence which weighs me down. I am always in debt and never, ever get to the bottom of my RSVPs before the next deluge soaks my day.

I remember the headline a year ago about paying employees for correspondence outside of office hours because researchers had discovered that people were spending their travel time to and from work, and more time once they’d got through their own front door, catching up on emails.

No sh** Sherlock.

How many of us have a love/hate relationship with our phone? True, it makes me smile when a message comes in. It's useful always having my camera with me and iPlayer and books on Audible streamed into my hearing aids have accompanied me on many a hot-foot to an appointment. But what started out for all of us as a great use of time as the train transported us to our destination flying through emails, reports, links and 'pre-reading' for tomorrow's meeting just a few short hours away -  has only lengthened our working day. And I don’t like that part one single bit.

Worse, when in the news yesterday we hear that a group of MPs are urging the government to look into the effect of hands-free phoning on our driving, there’s an instant backlash of people saying they can’t manage their job without using the phone in the car. The fact is, we can’t work from the next life, either, and more’s the sobering point, work would seem much less of a priority if we were coping with having killed or injured somebody because we lost concentration at the wheel. 

Nonetheless, the truth is that in the world we live in, some jobs wouldn’t be viable without people being able to communicate from behind the wheel. End of. We have built a society which relies on people working at work, before work, after work and travelling to and from work. And unless this is forced to unilaterally shift, I can’t see that this state of affairs is going to change for the better any time soon, as we continue careering forward in this ever increasingly techno future.

The problem is the speed of it all, isn’t it. I remember the good old days of freelance copywriting, when I had to tootle off to the post office three days before my deadline, with a floppy disk and a hard copy of the writing in question, all packed up ready to trundle off to the destination of my assignment. For the following week, while I awaited its delivery and the typed letter in return, I could Do Something Else.

These days, ticking off the to-do list doesn’t shorten it, does it? Because once we respond, the reply comes back, and quickly, generally, because we’re all caught in the same trap: get it done before it builds up! And so the circle continues. If we are to break the circle, it is going to have to be a conscious decision to snap it.

And what if we did snap it?

I have a plan. A real plan. And it starts in September. It’s not just a plan for me but one for everybody. We have to sign up emotionally and physically, but it’s free.

Join me?

More information in my next post 😊

Meanwhile, here’s that review. If you routinely go to bed after midnight and wake only a few small hours later, you need to read this book


  1. Can't wait to hear your plan and yes, the book is brilliant. Everyone should read it and listen to what it is saying.

  2. Hehe! I hope I haven't bigged the plan up too much...!?! And that book, I haven't met anyone yet who didn't enjoy it. It's fascinating in itself, isn't it. But I also think there are a lot of us who would prefer to skimp on sleep to feel a bit more no top of things. Not that I'm condoning that, obviously... ;) Thanks for reading!

  3. Wow! Yep I've got that uneasy feeling that someone is trying to tell me something now!! Can't wait to hear September's plan

    1. We need secret 27 hour days, huh!!!!! Posting the September plan in a few minutes. I hope it lives up to expectations after bigging it up ;) Thanks for taking the time to comment x

    2. I love this book (in fact, respondent number 1 read this after I encouraged her!). I tell all my students to read it and some of them actually have and ..... delight in telling me that they're not pulling quite as many "all-nighters" as a result! I honestly think one day we'll look back at this era and say "and do you know, they used to think sleep wasn't important, how crazy is that?!" Keep blogging and encouraging peeps to read this book Jax :)

    3. So true, Katie P, it will be like smoking, adding salt, throwing away plastic without a care... and our children will be like, How could you NOT know how important sleep was. I feel ashamed already... ;)


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