Please wake me up from this night­mare

The Guardian Weekly - - Comment & Debate - Andy Daw­son

In my (ad­mit­tedly self-re­gard­ing) opin­ion, I do my very best liv­ing be­tween the hours of 11pm and, say, 3am. That’s when my chil­dren have been con­fined to their beds and I have the rel­a­tive free­dom that al­lows me to con­sume tele­vi­sion un­til my eyes start to sting.

The best way I can de­scribe my noc­tur­nal nir­vana is that it’s like be­ing alive while be­ing par­tially dead – a bat­tle against sleep in or­der to feel as though I’ve en­joyed some qual­ity soli­tary time, even if noth­ing con­struc­tive is be­ing achieved. A tiny, use­less vic­tory against the re­lent­less tyranny of par­ent­ing.

Trag­i­cally though, the en­dur­ing nui­sance that is sci­ence has come along to jam a span­ner in my welloiled works. A study from the chrono­bi­ol­o­gists at the Univer­sity of Sur­rey sug­gests that night owls are more prone to smok­ing, heavy drink­ing, de­pres­sion and drug abuse. Oh, and un­healthy eat­ing.

The study, in Chrono­bi­ol­ogy In­ter­na­tional, shows that late ris­ers are 30% more likely to have di­a­betes, 22% more likely to have res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems and 94% more likely to have psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­ders.

Thank­fully, the chrono­bi­ol­o­gists aren’t here to night-shame us – they ar­gue that lives could be saved if so­ci­ety was more flex­i­ble to the needs of those who stay up late. They’ve found that the No 1 risk fac­tor for pre­ma­ture death is chronic sleep de­pri­va­tion.

This has all come as a mas­sive wake-up call. If I carry on with my night-time soli­tude, I may lose a few years. So in fu­ture, if you catch me tweet­ing about a 1980s episode of Top of the Pops at 2am, please tell me to get to bed – you could be sav­ing my life.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.