“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner….. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half, I’m sure. When the war started, I had to sleep during the day because that was the only way I could cope with my responsibilities.” Winston Churchill
On those days when I have become overwhelmed by too much to do, I have often felt that I would be able to cope better if only there were ten days a week. I could then more easily divide my time up into work, family, friends, self, marital mud, future planning, domestics and maybe even a day for doing nothing (what a luxury that last day would be).
To fit everything in I tried for a while working my schedule over a fortnight. That was only fooling myself because it did not really give me any extra time.
Then I tried for a while squeezing in an extra half day here or there. For example I started devoting four hours one day a week to domestic chores, then started my real day at mid-day and worked through until 8 pm. That worked well but was exhausting.
Then by chance I stumbled on an article about Winston Churchill. Apparently during World War 2 he squeezed two days into his hectic daily schedule (from about 8 am start through to about 3 am finish) by having a late afternoon sleep of about two hours every day. Therefore he scored two work days in every twenty-four hours. Brilliant!
Little afternoon naps have been a long-time friend of mine and yet the voice of conventional wisdom cries out they will destroy my ‘proper’ night-time sleep, or worse still they are the sign of an horrendous disease (sleep apnoea). So I had often fought against them.
Then a little while ago I decided to stop listening to the voices of wisdom and instead to adopt a sleep pattern that followed my natural rhythm (ie: sleep when I felt tired). I have found it feels natural to me to have a sleep sometime between 11 am and 3 pm. This may be a longish sleep of about an hour, if I am at home, or a shorter ‘power nap’ of about twenty minutes, when at work. If I have this sleep I then feel more energetic through into the late evening. I also require less sleep at night – about five or six hours at night is plenty for me. So there are two benefits of my day sleep. I require less sleep overall and so do actually gain more hours from each day. The second benefit is I am more productive and energetic for more of those hours. There are far less ‘feeling like a useless blob’ hours.
There is a third benefit. With the incentive of gaining an extra ‘day’ here and there, I become motivated to power through domestics or mucky marital settlement stuff in the mornings without the ‘what a waste of a day’ attitude; knowing that I still have a whole ‘day’ ahead of me for more enjoyable pastimes when I wake from my day sleep.
I may not be saving the free-world, but it it is still an excellent tip. Brilliant idea Mr Churchill! Thanks for your endorsement of my strange sleeping habits.
You may want to read further on biphasic and polyphasic sleep patterns.