tired! There are reasons
for it. Principle among
them the fact that our downstairs bathroom has remained undecorated
for – well – I’m not going to tell you how long – and I’ve
decided that it really has to be finished.
This means that my evenings have been spent with sandpaper,
scrapers and pots of paint – and when I’ve finished with all that
the dog still needs a walk.
also something to do with the time of year.
November is always the month when I’m tempted to emigrate.
If you’re choosing to visit
choose the spring, the summer, even early autumn.
But November – with sunset soon after 4, with dull, murky,
misty skies – it’s not surprising that everyone at our staff
worship today seemed half asleep.
one of the things that surprised me looking back at the beginning of
the month and the
presidential elections. How
do those guys keep going? Jetting
from one side of the country to the other – then on polling day
gathering with their families for an all night vigil.
Where do they get the energy from?
I mean – I’ve done those all night vigil’s a few times,
but I wouldn’t want to stand up and address the nation the next
morning. I certainly
wouldn’t want to be under the scrutiny of the TV cameras unforgiving
it seems some people need less sleep than others.
Late evening I’m ready to collapse into bed – my wife –
she’s still going strong and seems to be at her prime.
Thatcher – if you can think that far back into British Politics –
prided herself on her supposed ability to run the country on less than
four hours sleep a night. Maybe
that’s why she – along with other senior politicians, seemed to
age so quickly. The body
has to compromise somewhere.
I’m thankful for a piece of research by Demos
and IKEA called Dream
On: Sleep in the 24/7 Society.
Charles Leadbater, author of the report states that “On any
working day, a quarter of all managers in
are likely to be in a bad mood because they have not slept well.
These sleep-deprived and shouty managers with a tendency to
make mistakes are responsible for millions of . . . workers.”
report argues that sleep is the forgotten dimension in the work/life
balance. We always seem to
see sleep as the one thing that we can cut down on – and yet
research shows that less than 6 or 7 hours a night can have seriously
detrimental effects on our health and well being.
Some people make up for lack of sleep by “power-napping”, a
short daytime snooze that can help clear the mind for brighter
thinking. Others, like the
commuters I saw on the
underground, have an amazing ability to go to sleep, even standing up.
we need to learn from teenagers. It
may be a challenge to get them to bed at night – but once there they
make sure they get sufficient hours.
Try getting one up before mid-day on a weekend!
same report points out that the British are the workaholics of
and are thus the most sleep deprived.
We seem to have taken to heart the wise council of King Solomon
in the book of Proverbs:
little sleep, a little slumber,
little folding of the hands to rest--
poverty will come on you like a bandit.
puritan work ethic makes us proud of our long hours.
But such a work ethic can backfire – as is being seen in
where an increasing teenage dropout rate is seen as a result, at least
in part, of the hard work ethic that has been instilled into
generations of managers and employees.
Graduates from Japanese Universities are choosing casual short
term employment rather than getting tied down into a ritual of
employment that gives little time for a fuller life.
as the Demos report suggests, it’s something we need to get into
balance. I really
appreciate my sleep – but I also enjoy my work, and the other
hobbies and activities that I try and fit in around it.
I also find I need that focus that King Solomon learnt –
eventually – for his own life. A
focus and a purpose he shared in Psalm
the Lord builds the
builders labor in vain.
the Lord watches over the
watchmen stand guard in vain.
vain you rise early
stay up late,
for food to eat--
he grants sleep to those he loves.
work/life balance really comes into its own, for me, when I can sleep
at night because there is God’s peace in my life – and I can wake
refreshed for a new day, because I know, whatever I face, God is in