Back to work week, and every one seems happy to be back. It was interesting to see how so many are apologetic for taking a break and not doing much other than eat lots, drink lots and watch television. But as humans we really need to take a break and let our minds and bodies rest more often. You can see the energy returned when we do.

For me, I averaged more than 9 hours sleep over the last couple of weeks, a crazy amount that I would never allow in my normal working week. But maybe that’s what I need.

Matthew Walker talks about the effects of chronic sleep deprivation in his book “Why We Sleep”. I recognise the effects of mental fatigue growing with weeks where I’ve burned the candle at both ends but what I didn’t realise is that it’s nigh on impossible to fully catch up at the weekends with a couple of lie ins.

I used to beat myself up because I didn’t feel able to perform on a Thursday or Friday but when I realise that I was on the 3 or 4th night of 6 hours sleep then the reason is clear. Our culture expects us to work long hours at interesting or valuable jobs that also seem to need a long commute. That takes so many of our waking hours that many of us feel exhausted by the time we’re home, zonk ourselves out in front of the tele and then grab some sleep before we start the whole thing again.

I’ve argued against the long commute in the past, for the reasons of irreplaceable hours taken from your life and the fossil fuels burned to get one group from A to B and the other from B to A in the morning just to take them back again in the evening. Now I can add to that the mental health damage it does via disordered sleep.

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