Who needs sleep?

“Well you’re never gonna get it!”

So say the Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian band famous for their catchy and clever lyrics. Definite song-tongue-twisters. A band perhaps more famous these days for their theme tune for The Big Bang Theory, but some great albums.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Anyway, this is not a post about them, or music. I came across an article on the BBC Website, which can be found here, all about the benefits of an extra hour’s sleep.

I didn’t realise that the great folk of GB’land average a measlyΒ six-and-a-half hours’ sleep a night. That is what the Sleep Council say at least. Who knew there was a Sleep Council?

I probably manage about seven hours a night so feel less like complaining about it now!

The article got me thinking. Sleep can be a driving force to our characters and how they journey through our stories. A chronic insomniac is likely to be cranky. From my many years as an insomniac hoping for a an hour or two a night, I know how lack of sleep made me the cranky mad-man from Sheffield. Character idea! πŸ™‚

Add medication into the mix, your main protagonist could over-sleep, miss that important interview/appointment that changes their life story. Endless possibilities from a variety of sleep habits.

Extending your sleep pattern to more than six-and-a-half hours’ sleep is beneficial as we step back to the article:

… when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours’ sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

So the clear message from this experiment was that if you are getting less than seven hours’ sleep a night and can alter your sleep habits, even just a little bit, it could make you healthier. “Have a lie-in, it will do you good” – that’s the kind of health message that doesn’t come along very often.

Food for thought. Why don’t you sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning. πŸ˜‰


Munchie is sleeping on it. Photo was a selfie with me cropped out!

Thanks for reading.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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28 Responses to Who needs sleep?

  1. davidprosser says:

    Who you calling cranky? Anyway, you’ve got a nerve after just admitting that you take half an hour more than the National average and you know damn well it’s that half an hour I’ve been looking for everywhere.Me, Me, Me, that’s all you sleepers think of.
    I think that greedy protagonist in your story not only misses an important interview and loses a job but is made to give me an hours sleep every night just to make sure he never misses another interview you understand,

  2. I spent most of my time, 20 years, in the US Air Force on rotating 3 day shifts. That means 3 days at work, then 3 swing shifts, then 3 mids then 3 days off. Is that why I’m HypoThyoid and Celiac? Who knows?

  3. Linda Govik says:

    That’s a fun take on it – to make the sleeping patterns a part of your character’s personality! Cool! A lack of sleep can seriously mess with your brain, so I’d say after a few days of insomnia, you’d be more than a bit cranky, which could also be an interesting area to explore (like Stephen King did, if I’m not mistaken) πŸ™‚

  4. Great post! I’ve spent a career worth’s of five-six hours of sleep a night – kids, work, house – in addition to arthritis, which I have, wonder what else is in store? You go Munchie! You clearly know how to take care of yourself.

  5. robincoyle says:

    Interesting that there are people in this world who have the title “Sleep Analyst” on their business cards and their job is to watch people sleep.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Nothing beats a good night’s sleep for feeling good. I’ve had a recent good stretch, and the difference in my outlook and energy levels is like night and day. People may joke about it or belittle it, but the science is there! And I suspect my characters need their rest to be at their peak performance levels. πŸ™‚

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Well, we can safely assume by my username that I likely don’t get enough sleep! πŸ™‚ I try to get to bed by 9, and it is possible most nights, so that I average 7 hours. Once my head hits the pillow, I am out and I usually have a solid night’s sleep.

    I think that if I were a lousy sleeper, then I probably wouldn’t be able to manage my 4am alarm. So, I will throw in there that quality of sleep is probably just as important as quantity.

    Love ze kitty!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Yes, a 4amWriter tag does give it away. πŸ™‚

      I think quality is important so if you average 7 hours and it’s good sleep then the time you rise shouldn’t make a difference. Should it?

  8. Gwen Stephens says:

    I think it goes for everyone – adults and children alike. My kids are entirely different animals when they’re running on a full tank of gas. I think back to the years they were small and my nights were short and broken. We were all miserable. I’m a 7-hour-a-night girl, too.

  9. I once did a 48 hour ambulance shift on 30 minutes of sleep. I truly do not remember the last three calls we responded to. Not good. 😦

  10. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I need 8 hours of sleep to function best. Some nights more. Occasionally, I do well on less without getting sick. But I’ve learned what I need and I make sure I get it. πŸ™‚

  11. Sleep Council, now that is interesting. I don’t think I get eight hours per night anymore, but I try. I function okay with around six, but I’d love to go back to eight. Oh, yes, I’m fighting for it … hopefully one day soon. There is just too much to do, and never enough time to cover everything.

  12. EllaDee says:

    Munchie is a great, and very cute, reminder of the benefits of prioritising sleep. But of course Munchie has the benefit of you being the one with the day job who earns the cash to buy cat food.
    The G.O.’s alarm goes off at 5am, and even though my work day doesn’t start until 9am, I get up with him because if I didn’t wouldn’t get up for hours, run late… and not really care.
    At the other end of the day he’d be quite happy to eat dinner and go to bed as he walks in the door. I prefer to eat later, so an early bed time is at least 9.30 pm if the G.O. is lucky, a little later if I prevail πŸ˜‰
    Akin to Munchie, I’m a good cat napper. I can grab 20 mins on the couch, train, car, bench and be revived. If he indulges in an afternoon nap, the G.O. is almost impossible to rouse for hours and wakes groggy, disoriented and a bit grumpy.

    • Pete Denton says:

      I admire your rising so early when you don’t have to. With Munchie having diabetes we one of us has to get up early every day to give him his insulin. You do get more done when you rise early πŸ™‚

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