(Yes, this week’s film title is relevant to the subject (as they all are hem hem) – see if you can spot the connection while you’re reading…. explanation at the end of the post if you can’t be bothered (perish the thought!) or it’s been a tough week)
AMAZING BREAKTHROUGH! Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?
Last week we waxed lyrical (posh prose) about Prof Matthew Taylor’s book Why We Sleep (from which the previous para is quoted), and outlined some of the (many) problems caused by not getting enough shuteye. We promised to outline the Prof’s recommendations for what to do, so (ever faithful to our word) here we go.
Quoting verbatim from the great man, here’s his Twelve Tips For Healthy Sleep —
1) Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As creatures of habit, people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Sleeping later at weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning. Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so for when it’s time to go to sleep. If there is only one piece of advice you remember and take from these twelve tips, this should be it.
2) Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least thirty minutes on most days but not later than two to three hours before your bedtime.
3) Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as eight hours to wear off fully. Therefore, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. In addition, smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.
4) Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Having a nightcap or alcoholic beverage before sleep may help you relax, but heavy use robs you of REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep. Heavy alcohol ingestion also may contribute to impairment in breathing at night. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the alcohol have worn off.
5) Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A light snack is OK, but a large meal can cause indigestion, which interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.
6) If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist to see whether any drugs you’re taking might be contributing to your insomnia and ask whether they can be taken at other times during the day or early in the evening
7) Don’t take naps after 3pm. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night
8) Relax before bed. Don’t overschedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual
9) Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax and slow down so you’re more ready to sleep
10) Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. Get rid of anything in your bedroom that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures. You sleep better if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. A TV, cell phone, or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. Having a comfortable mattress and pillow can help promote a good night’s sleep. Individuals who have insomnia often watch the clock. Turn the clock’s face out of view so you don’t worry about the time while trying to fall asleep
11) Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least thirty minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning. Sleep experts recommend that, if you have problems falling sleep, you should get an hour of exposure to morning sunlight and turn down the lights before bedtime
12) Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than twenty minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep
(Gulp – must try harder – Ed)
Enough serious stuff already – time to move on to the lighter side of the week’s news –
• Serendipity strikes again …. hot on the heels of the Rembrandt story featured in last week’s Post, and the hoho Stradivarius quote, comes the news this week that the old fella (Sr S) did indeed really know what he was doing. Sr Francesco Geminiani (who was a violinist three hundred years ago) advised his pupils that “the art of playing consists in giving that instrument a tone that shall in a manner rival the most perfect human voice”, but that instrument-makers who copied the cockerel (!), cuckoo (!!), or owl (!!!) were “charlatans and posture-masters”. Now Prof Hwan-Ching Tai (of the National Taiwan Uni) has discovered that the violins which most closely resemble the (female) human voice (and what could be more perfect than that? – Toady Ed) are indeed Strads – and they don’t sound a bit like an owl, either
• When you visualise Sir Winston Churchill you probably picture him smoking a cigar – but it appears that he didn’t really like them. In 1943 he told Nurse Dori Miles, who was treating him for pneumonia, that “he hates cigars, and never smokes more than a quarter of one!”. All very well, but maybe the great man was telling the lady what she wanted to hear – how often do you truthfully answer the doc when he/she asks you how many alcohol units you drink, eh? – Cynical Ed
• Mr Vladimir Putin has welcomed the news that Mr Skripal had been released from hospital in Salisbury, and reassured (??) us all by saying that if the toxin had been real Novichok, Mr S would be dead (so that’s all right then)
• In other health news, parents have been urged to worry less about minor infections and make their kids play with other children more, in order to prevent Blighty’s most common childhood cancer (the bugs help their immune systems)
• If you find it frustrating to wait for a taxi, why not try Rossendale (which has a cab for every 19 inhabitants (must be a bit of a squeeze though?)) or Wolverhampton, which has licensed 9,388 new taxi drivers this year alone. Over 100 taxi companies operate in Yam Yam City (58 of them from only four addresses), and they run minicab operations in places including Birmingham, Manchester, Mansfield, and Cambridge
• As a change from the long-running dispute with Southern, there’s a rail strike with a difference this week – Poole Park Railway (which runs trains on a 640-metre loop at 4mph) (sounds just like Southern, though the PPR’s trains are rather smaller) has seen 40 of its volunteers walk out in a spat with the management after the council suspended its operating licence after a derailment ….
• …. While back in the Smoke there’s been chaos as Govia’s new timetables resulted in widespread cancellations and trains “ending up in the wrong place” (Poole, maybe?). It was a mistake letting the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs run the service anyway (and isn’t the country “fed up with experts”?) (grrr – Ed)
• And finally, Mr Simon Smith (from Harlow, in Essex) has become an unexpected celebrity after he wrote an account of his experience as a parent accompanying a school trip —an epic tale of tragedy, farce, toilet breaks, and tears which has proved a smash hit on the Internet. Mr S describes himself as a curmudgeon and a misanthrope (although it’s not clear if he wrote that description before or after the trip). Highlights (?) include “one mile in. Most of the lunches have gone and approximately 30% of the people on this coach need the toilet”, “farts are occurring”, “I’ve just been asked if any of the men that went to the moon with Armstrong and Aldrin sill live there – I wish I f***king lived there”, “SOMEONE HAS BEEN SICK …. who had 10.14am in the sweepstake?”, and “somebody kill me please”. At one point, Mr S (who served in the Army) gets a text from his wife (Kim) asking about his day. He replies “time stopped for me at 8am. Remember me telling you about when the IRA tried to blow me up in Northern Ireland? This is worse”. It’s safe to say he won’t be doing a repeat – he concludes “I’m never doing this again – I’m shoving my own kid on eBay as soon as we get home”. Bless!
On to Columbo Corner, and That Wedding. After the Times told them about the nuptials, the inhabitants of the village of Yaohnanen (on the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu – but you knew that) celebrated by unfurling British flags, dancing, feasting on pigs, and drinking kava (not the fizzy stuff from Catalonia, but “a drink made from the root of a plant widely consumed across the South Pacific for its sedative and euphoriant properties”). The 150 villagers have worshipped Prince Philip as a god for over 50 years, believing him to be the embodiment of a returning volcano spirit who had moved far away to marry a powerful woman (sound pretty accurate to me – Ed). Makes you proud to be British ….
Have a great weekend – and why not celebrate the start of the Bank Holiday weekend with a Gin and Tonic (if only for its euphoriant properties) ….
Cheers for now
Zulu is the International Phonetic Alphabet word for the letter Z (as in zzzz ….) — GEDDITTT???!!? (as the immortal Glenda Slagg would say)
For a light-hearted look at some of what TAB does, have a look at this animation
I presently run three Boards –
Dark Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
Light Blue (for people who run large businesses) — two spare seats
White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — two spare seats
“I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form” (Winston Churchill) (but the Prof hadn’t written his book at that stage ….)
“If I had taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral” (George Burns) (aged 98)
“Happiness? A good meal, a good cigar, and a good woman – or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle” (George Burns)
“You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die” (Anon)
“No, no, Jean — the T is silent, as in Harlow” (Margot Asquith to Jean Harlow, after the latter had repeatedly mispronounced Lady A’s Christian name)
By Tom Morton – TAB Harrogate