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All about nothing

We are all different – some might suggest that is what makes the world go around.

Whether we are ginger-haired, white, black, mixed-race, bald, short-sighted, disabled in some way, excessively tall or short, male, female, transgender, ‘identifying today as some gender we weren’t yesterday’, left-handed, interested in trainspotting, hiking, skydiving, naturism, chess, male netball, an ‘early-to-bedder-and-early-riser’ (or the opposite), innately talented at maths, languages, music, breakdancing, double-jointed, thin, fat, alcoholic or teetotal, a Mensa member or educationally sub-normal, sociopathic or the life and soul of every gathering we join, quick-tempered or laidback, manipulative or easily-led, strong or weak-willed, sports-mad or quite the opposite, concerned about the environment – plus climate change, human rights, equality and developing nations (or none of the above) – honest (or not, or indeed only when it suits us), fundamentally self-interested or in contrast far more concerned about others, arrogant or the opposite, supremely confident or totally lacking in self-esteem, well-balanced or completely obsessed by one thing (or a small number of them) to the exclusion of virtually everything else, or just weird … we’ve all got something going for us and then somehow  just “get on with it”, by which I mean to refer to muddling through – or coping with – all the rest that goes to make up what passes for human existence and the wide varieties of ways that different civilisations, cultures and societies organise themselves.

Coming at the above from the viewpoint of someone who is both a left-hander and an ‘early-to-bedder-and-early-riser’ [I wouldn’t go quite so far as to use the term ‘nocturnal’] and also in the second half of my seventh decade, some time ago I reached the conclusion that my best modus operandi was to embrace my ‘attributes’, rather than ignore, deny or fight against them.

Accordingly – and you might file this under ‘Pleasing Oneself’ – I began eating, sleeping and drinking when I felt like it.

In fact, this at some sort of philosophical level, I adopted this approach firstly, on the basis that a little bit of what you enjoy is both good for you plus hopefully a positive thing in a wider context – and secondly, because it seemed to me that tuning into one’s biorhythms was not only an elemental human trait but one that had actually served our species pretty well for hundreds of thousands of years and – if you like – gotten us to where we have reached (and here I’m working on the admittedly unproven assumption that at least on a hypothetical level natural selection and/or the process of evolution has brought us to the highest possible state of humanity as a whole) in August 2109.

And it comes to pass that by habit I tend to be up in the wee hours – and functioning as well as I do all day – and then I (hopefully) later catch up on my sleep/rest by the uncomplicated ruse of taking a nap any time I feel so inclined and/or tired.

This has its advantages – one of which is that whenever I do ‘hit the pillow’ I seem to have no difficulty at all nodding off and, whenever I re-awake, immediately feel refreshed and ‘ready to go again’ – but also its inconveniences. For example, some more conventional individuals find it either weird or incomprehensible that anyone (and this point is unrelated to youth or age, i.e. the stage in life which anyone has reached) has disappeared for a nap when the rest of the world is – broadly-speaking – between 0900 and 1800 hours “doing its business”. [A statement that, one might point out, of course, takes no account of the fact that upon the Earth, necessarily, different time zones come into the equation].

Given all the above, it won’t surprise anyone that – in the light of my sleeping habits – I keep an eye out in the media and elsewhere for reports of the latest scientific research findings upon the effects upon the human body or mind of light sleeping, being up in the night, occasional napping, lack of sleep.

I’m not suggesting that I would necessarily go so far as to change my habits if I were to read something that ‘proved’ they were bad for me.

I might, but I might not.

If it was the latter, it would be because I’m not only used to my habits but quite comfortable with them. In short, I’ve reached the conclusion that they seem to work for me … so why would I worry?

Which brings me to the point of my post today.

A week or two – maybe it was a month – ago an article was published in the Daily Mail (and referenced on this organ) reporting on scientific findings that suggested ‘power naps’ were good for you. At least I think that was the case. I also seem to recall that it contained a qualification to the general thrust, i.e. that ‘power naps’ of 20 to 30 minutes duration were good … namely, that anything that took the sleeper into what was described as ‘deep sleep’ was to be avoided, apparently because this might leave the reawakened sleeper in a distracted or discombobulated state afterwards, resulting in a drop in the quality of his/her decision-making etc.

And then overnight I spotted another report in the Daily Mail – this one detailing new research findings that a propensity to take a nap during the day is a symptom potentially directly linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

See here – DAILY MAIL

The irony – as been highlighted on the Rust many times previously – is that there exists a phenomenon whereby, sometimes within a couple of months – a ‘new scientific research finding’ can be asserted in the media, then contradicted, then confirmed again by subsequent equivalents … and so on, ad infinitum.

From my perspective, as I type today, my reaction is more one of “So what?” than a variation of a theme of “Cripes! I had better alter my lifestyle or habits”.