I’ll take the ‘me time’ over that extra hour in bed, thanks | Blaise Tapp

It was some years ago, during the early stages of my developing the physique of a chip butty loving pub landlord, that I vowed to avoid medical ‘advice’ stories which frequently appear in the media.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 5:00 pm
Scientists recommend going to bed between 10pm and 11pm. Picture by Shutterstock

No good can possibly come from worrying about whether you have already scoffed a lifetime’s quota of processed meat or if you’ve been listening to the music of Slipknot at too high a volume.

Any news story with an opening paragraph that contains the words ‘scientists have found’ can never make for an enjoyable read and merely serves as yet another reason for the terminally stupid to panic themselves into a frenzy.

However, I did sit up and take notice last week when reading a report that going to bed between 10pm and 11pm appears to be good for one’s heart.

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The study by researchers at the University of Exeter found that those who nodded off during that one-hour window had lower heart disease rates than those who ascended the wooden hill earlier or later.

Even though the news report included caveats that the report provides an association rather than conclusive evidence that late bedtimes are bad for the heart, this is bad news for me.

I imagine it is for millions of others who, for whatever reason, turn in for the night when the little hand has gone past 12.

My reason for not doing what the doctor ordered is simple: I don’t want to.

I realise how that makes me sound like a petulant seven-year-old but I have long subscribed to the view that we can sleep once we have rolled up our tent for the final time.

Although I need longer than Thatcher’s four hours I tend to run on anything between six or seven hours a night and have done since my teens.

It’s not because I’m big into ostentatious sleeplessness advocated by the likes of Donald Trump, who once boasted of being awake for 21 hours a day, but for fear of missing something interesting.

Going to sleep between 10 and 11pm would mean missing out on the late BBC and ITN news bulletins, Newsnight, and the weekly bore-fest that Question Time has become.

For anybody who either works in the media or has more than a passing interest in what is going on in the world, these programmes are essential viewing.

After 10 o’clock in our house is usually a guarantee that there aren’t any kids about and, as any parent will testify, child-free time is to be savoured.

Some nights, after 10 is the first time that I manage to sit down for an evening, and once I am on the sofa, it is approaching impossible to shift me off it.

After 11 is a dangerous time for any exhausted 40-something to be in charge of a remote control because this is the time when there is utter garbage on the box, even if you have 200 channels.

This is the very reason why I have watched Sliding Doors seven times and can recite every line from the timeless comedy Gavin and Stacey.

I pay so much for the television subscription that I feel obliged to watch as many reruns of Minder – the ones with Dennis Waterman – and Have I Got News for You as possible.

I can be as tired as one of Jim Davidson’s gags, but if I am more than halfway through a Friday night film by midnight then there is no way that I am pressing the record button.

Going out is much the same story because, due to the fear of missing out on anything remotely interesting, I have never once in my life gone up to bed first.

I am willing to take the chance that watching reruns of classic noughties comedies won’t kill me because the idea of life without any sort of me-time strikes me as being very dull indeed.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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