Please wake me up from this nightmare
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.