I need my sleep.
I mean, we all do but it’s a sliding scale, isn’t it?
Some of us lose our faculties and have embarrassing nap attacks through the day if we don’t get seven good hours of log-like sleep a night.
Others can survive and thrive on three to five hours – or claim to, at least. Whether that’s effectively true is highly debatable.
I don’t want to get into opinions on Margaret Thatcher, who famously kept the sleeping habits of a shark. But I wonder what the world would be like now if Thatcher had got a solid six to eight hours a night while serving as Prime Minister, instead of averaging four.
Would she still have cancelled free milk in primary schools, introduced section 28 and collapsed Britain’s post-war consensus? Who knows.
I’ve just had four hours’ sleep myself after rounding off this year’s Edinburgh festival with a late-night play, a long commute home, and now an early rise to write this column.
And although I could never imagine fan-girling General Pinochet, supporting South Africa’s Apartheid regime, or bombing the Belgrano, I do feel a bit unhinged.
These last few weeks of festival time have been FULL ON. Between the Glasgow/Edinburgh daily commute and the mad juggle of life and work, I have not been sleeping enough. Not at night, anyway.
I did fall asleep several times watching a Fringe show the other day. It was no slight on the show – what I saw of it was absolutely brilliant. I’d have fallen asleep on a bed of hot knives that day.
At one point I woke up trying to join in with the dialogue, which had become part of my dream. Fortunately, I came to before saying anything.
However, when I woke up again about ten minutes later, I audibly half-gasped, half screamed, thinking I’d peed myself. I hadn’t, but it wouldn’t have been much more embarrassing if I had.
Nap attack killed Taggart scene
I get terrible sleep deprivation nap attacks. One time, when I was filming Taggart years ago, I fell asleep on camera during a take. I’d been working late the night before – writing a column, in fact. And I could feel it coming on too.
I was digging my nails into my legs and slapping my cheeks to try and stay awake. But it was no use. Someone called, “Action”. A nap attacked mid scene. I got sucked into the sleepy vortex. Someone called, “Cut. Sorry, Lesley. Are we keeping you up?”
I never did do another Taggart.
I wonder if these nap attacks are hereditary. My parents (sorry, Mum and Dad) are terrible for nodding off all over the place, often inappropriately.
More than once, at their own dinner parties, they’ve been woken by their guests to let them know, “That’s us away now”.
My Dad got thrown out of a night school class for snoring. My sister conked out at a panto surrounded by a million boisterous Brownies.
And my mum, a massage therapist, once fell asleep in the middle of massaging someone, and only narrowly avoided nutting them in the back.
We Harts can sleep anywhere. Just as well, because I’m needing to catch some zeds, pronto – for everyone’s sake. And rest assured, I won’t be making any life or world changing decisions until I do.