9 January 2011
This is what winter in England is really all about. Never mind the picturesque snow-covered fields, the lightly frosted branches. Nope, we’re talking real, traditional English winter weather here – on Friday it was just about as miserable as it is possible to be. It was cold, the wind was blowing a decent pace and the rain was absolutely sheeting down. It was grey and dreary and even the dog had to think twice about venturing out for her morning constitutional, hesitating at the prospect which greeted her as I opened the front door. I certainly seriously considered simply letting her out, telling her to be careful with the traffic and reminding her just to give us a quick bark when she wanted to come back in again, but she wasn’t buying it. So out we went and it was, truly, truly awful. It’s the kind of weather that makes you wonder why you ever left the west coast.
I ran across an article last month to which the only response I can think of is, “Duh!” It was about some research in Sweden which concluded that people who have been deprived of sleep appear less attractive, less healthy and, get this, more tired compared with when they are well rested.
Well, go figure! It seems that researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm wanted to “prove” that the concept of “beauty sleep” had some merit. So, they asked some untrained observers to rate the faces of 23 young men and women who had been photographed after a normal night’s sleep and then after a night of sleep deprivation. Surprise, surprise – the faces in the well-rested photographs were deemed to be more attractive, healthier and less tired!
Now, I have to say, I have often suspected that this was the case but there are some anomalies – Ms Playchute always looks gorgeous whether she has slept well or not. I, on the other hand, certainly need all the beauty sleep I can get (and even then it frequently isn’t enough to make me look attractive and/or healthy to either the trained or untrained observer).
On a similar theme, there was another article a while back about a siesta competition in Spain which, had I known about it at the time, I certainly would have considered entering. It seems that the frenetic pace of life has impacted on the tradition of having a mid-day siesta in Spain and although many shops regularly close during the afternoon, as they always have done, it seems that almost no one now uses that time to catch a bit of shut eye. The competition was intended to help revive the tradition of taking a nap after lunch.
The competition was held in a busy shopping mall in Madrid and contestants had to try to sleep for up to twenty minutes. They were fitted with pulse monitors so that the judges could determine whether they were really asleep and points were awarded not only for the length of time one managed to sleep but also for unusual sleeping positions, eye-catching outfits and the loudest snores. The competition was won by an unemployed Ecuadorian security worker who managed to sleep for seventeen out of his allotted twenty minutes and snore at 70 decibels. As well as the world-wide acclaim, he also won 1000 Euros – not bad for being good at falling asleep.
Do you think I stand any chance of being perceived as more healthy and attractive if I get a good night’s sleep and take a mid-day siesta?
Yours, off for a nap,