THE BLOG

Is It Time to Take an iSiesta?

23/09/2013 13:15 | Updated 22 November 2013

Dolly Parton crooned about it, the Beatles told us it was a 'Hard Day's Night' and Abba's dream plan was that they wouldn't have to do it at all; working the traditional 9-5, or those longer hours, by the sounds of it seems to have taken its toll on people for decades.

As a working mother of an on-the-go toddler - who also wakes frequently through the night - my sleep pattern has altered shall we say, and I've been living in what feels like a blur of sleep deprivation of joy and exhaustion.

Most days, like most parents I assume, I can be found frantically fluttering around like a bonkers butterfly on battery acid; catching up on work at midnight or rolling around the floor army-style at 6am playing chase with our little one. I could then be in the kitchen batch cooking a plethora of meals for a little growing lad while on the phone organising appointments whilst the washing machine takes-off for the moon in the background.

With his ever regular wakeful intervals during the evening (as well as the night) my days are long and breaks are few and far between. If I ever decided to do a runner and join the circus, my specialty would be juggling. I could re-invent myself as 'Jezebel's Juggling Act - she spins, she swirls it's all up in the air!' - I'd make a bloody fortune.

Yet this is a walk in the park compared to any parent with a dozen children, whether working or not. And this is nothing compared to the recent news that has exposed city banking firms who push their graduate interns to extremities you can't possibly imagine. After reading about a typical '72 hour shift' at a large city organisation - where an ambitious graduate lost his life over the intransigent work ethic - it takes pushing yourself to a whole new level.

Sleep is for the weak so they say. But is it?

According to experts, after the summer we've just had, London's temperature is on the rise due to global warming and the suggestion is to adopt the lifestyle of our Mediterranean cousins by resting in the ever-increasing afternoon heat (she says wearing opaque tights on an autumnal day). But I say why not now? Whether the weather is hot or not, let's siesta!

Aren't we all so frazzled as it is - plate-spinning more than ever, working longer hours, harder, faster or moonlighting to keep afloat in this recession led triple-dip?
On top of that we all have an extended body part: our phones. If we're not facebooking, tweeting, pinteresting, skyping or instagraming, we're finding an app to try and sleep - or get your child to sleep (guilty, surely there's an irony somewhere in that?). Either that or we're writing emails to our bosses at 10pm, or we're browsing, buying, banking, booking holidays, bill-paying or blogging (ahem); we're plugged in 24/7. At some point we need to switch off our iClouds and simply let the iSun set.

A siesta is not exactly a light-bulb moment and has probably been considered. But it occurred to me after taking our little toddler to the farm one day that a siesta is the key to finding a balance. Who knows, it could have been the fresh air or the pig's swill that made me all bleary-eyed but we decided to have a family nap. And just as we were all snuggled up and heading into slumber-land the inner critic raised its ugly head: 'Shouldn't I be doing something productive? I have 17,907 jobs to do, friends to call, chores to churn out'. But as I was sinking into the warmth of the duvet with my two favourite people, the overriding feeling was that the mundane can remain undone and out came the voice of reason: 'Ah sod it, let's snooze...'

Seriously, Mr Cameron, can this be a law? I'm sure a siesta Bill can be passed. Let's look at the benefits for a moment: power naps = more productive brain activity, it makes us happier, healthier, reduces stress, which in turn is good for our cardiovascular systems - less strain on the NHS. I mean, there's big things to think through such as what would happen about shutting down hospitals, schools, public transport, etc. for a couple of sleepy hours but if the Spanish can do it, why can't we... bastante por favor?

So who's in? It could be one mass sleep-fest after lunchtime. The UK could be cozying down into calmness. Maybe the collective snoring of folk could generate enough energy to run the National Grid, just a thought? OK, maybe that's a bit far fetched. Ah well, if it doesn't reach Parliament, I can at least dream, that's if I get a chance to actually sit down. If not, I'll run off as Jezebel, the circus is still calling...