Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves


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This is very much a personal issue for me. I have had insomnia for a long time and I have tried all sorts of things – but not medications. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is now being shown to be effective. There is a podcast from the Guardian today.

I have to say that I hate podcasts. I think they work better for other people, but I much prefer to read rather than listen, and this podcast demonstrates very effectively what I find annoying. Firstly there are all sorts of musical interruptions. Secondly it is not one person reading, it is two people having a conversation. And talking about a lot of stuff I already know. Including how, when you go to your doctor, you only have ten minutes per appointment, so you do not want to hear from her what you already know. Just like this ****ing podcast! If I was able to scan down a page of text I could find the information I want. Yes it is in the podcast but towards the end (of course).

Worse than that, the woman on the podcast actually says, “There is a Long Read. Go to the website.” So I do that, and I cannot find a Long Read section of the Guardian – or even a link to the one she is presumably referencing – but I do find all sorts of other stuff not one of which is a Long Read. There are however things called “Long Read Podcasts” – which to me is an oxymoron.

So what I have found so far is this older piece from the Doctor that they talk about Colin Espie which contains a link to a website FOR PEOPLE IN ENGLAND ( so I am not actually linking to it so you don’t waste your time.

The short answer to what you need to do is set the time you need to get up and stick to that every day. So if you need to get up at 7am on work days, do that every day without variation. Don’t lie in. Don’t nap. Do not lie awake for hours trying to go to sleep: that doesn’t work. Get up and go read. There is some evidence (not mentioned in the podcast) that using screens (computers, tablets, phones, Kindles) that the light will keep you awake, so choose a good dead tree book. The idea is that will stop the squirrel treadmill your mind has been running on. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. If your get up time is going to be 7am and you want 8 hours of sleep go to bed at 11pm every night too. And when you go to bed, get up if you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes.

I am going to try this, and I will report back in due course on how it works out for me – but I am not expecting instant results.

I have also learned that and Long Reads on the Guardian are two different things.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 16, 2020 at 11:44 am

Posted in personal thoughts

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  1. i’m not a fan of people talking aimlessly for more than 10 minutes on a podcast or the radio 🙂 i.e.i’m with you i hate most podcasts !! (i hate the “bumpers”, the “ads” etc etc if i want radio i’ll listen to npr, cbc or bbc 🙂

    Roland Tanglao

    March 17, 2020 at 3:38 pm

  2. UPDATE July 22, 2020

    My sleep pattern has greatly improved. I am no longer getting up at 3am to read a book after lying awake for an hour. I do have to pee around 2am most nights, but I can then go back to bed and sleep. I get at least 6 hours sleep a night, sometimes more. Our wake up time has to be 6am on days when we provide daycare for a grandchild. That usually is 2 days a week and seem to impact wake up on every other day when it usually doesn’t matter much when we wake up. I must also say that the peace and quiet we experienced during March, April and May helped a lot. Not having to travel anywhere at all also removed the single largest cause of stress.

    Stephen Rees

    July 22, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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