Sandman delivers a lighter sprinkling during Summer

Sleep: Never, ever to be taken for granted.
Sleep: Never, ever to be taken for granted.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Sleep is a concept that has always fascinated me whether it be the outlandishly bizarre situations I find myself in during my dream periods or the difference between having a good night’s rest or feeling pretty exhausted the following morning for no good reason.

Along our road, many years ago, I remember as a child, how certain local farmers, would be categorised not by their sleeping habits but by their getting-up times.

During the turf drawing season with the horse-and-carts, one early riser would have to be the first in the bog every morning, or else he felt that his honour would be totally impugned.

Needless to say, he wasn’t a man, I’m told, who would be giving any late-night dissertations in the local hostelry, with a policy of lights out every night at 10pm.

Then, there were ‘the ordinary people’ who tended to get up in time for the eight-o-clock news every morning while the late-risers – after 10pm – were disparagingly dispatched into the ‘good-for-nothing’ category.

Over the last month or so, a combination of circumstances shoved into the ‘very early’ bracket, but with an east facing window and a burst of early morning sun from 5ish onwards, there is no doubt that it is far easier to leave the scratcher in a brisker during the Mid-Summer period.

Hundreds and hundreds of studies have been done to examine what is known as the Circadian Cycle as regards sleep. All are agreed on one thing: that a good night’s sleep is a hugely positive aspect of a healthy lifestyle although some studies carried out in the Scandinavian countries show no great patterns in terms of the seasons.

I would tend to disagree, as a burst of early morning daylight flooding into a room during that May to August period, just has to be a little motivational factor in helping to get a body up and about.

Those who fancy a bit of a lie-on in the morning tend to react a bit tetchily to the early-risers, opting for the later finish to the day, and I suppose it’s a case of everyone to their own pattern, subject of course to the demands of the workplace.

Studies by the University of Westminster, carried out by a Professor Angela Clow, have indicated though, that the earlier we take-in the early morning fuel of daylight, the better is overall for our mood and productivity through the following 12 to 16 hours.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.