Ten days a week

“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner….. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half, I’m sure. When the war started, I had to sleep during the day because that was the only way I could cope with my responsibilities.” Winston Churchill 


On those days when I have become overwhelmed by too much to do, I have often felt that I would be able to cope better if only there were ten days a week. I could then more easily divide my time up into work, family, friends, self, marital mud, future planning, domestics and maybe even a day for doing nothing (what a luxury that last day would be).

To fit everything in I tried for a while working my schedule over a fortnight. That was only fooling myself because it did not really give me any extra time.

Then I tried for a while squeezing in an extra half day here or there. For example I started devoting four hours one day a week to domestic chores, then started my real day at mid-day and worked through until 8 pm. That worked well but was exhausting.

Then by chance I stumbled on an article about Winston Churchill. Apparently during World War 2 he squeezed two days into his hectic daily schedule (from about 8 am start through to about 3 am finish) by having a late afternoon sleep of about two hours every day. Therefore he scored two work days in every twenty-four hours. Brilliant!

Little afternoon naps have been a long-time friend of mine and yet the voice of conventional wisdom cries out they will destroy my ‘proper’ night-time sleep, or worse still they are the sign of an horrendous disease (sleep apnoea). So I had often fought against them.

Then a little while ago I decided to stop listening to the voices of wisdom and instead to adopt a sleep pattern that followed my natural rhythm (ie: sleep when I felt tired). I have found it feels natural to me to have a sleep sometime between 11 am and 3 pm. This may be a longish sleep of about an hour, if I am at home, or a shorter ‘power nap’ of about twenty minutes, when at work. If I have this sleep I then feel more energetic through into the late evening. I also require less sleep at night – about five or six hours at night is plenty for me. So there are two benefits of my day sleep. I require less sleep overall and so do actually gain more hours from each day. The second benefit is I am more productive and energetic for more of those hours. There are far less ‘feeling like a useless blob’ hours.

There is a third benefit. With the incentive of gaining an extra ‘day’ here and there, I become motivated to power through domestics or mucky marital settlement stuff in the mornings without the ‘what a waste of a day’ attitude; knowing that I still have a whole ‘day’ ahead of me for more enjoyable pastimes when I wake from my day sleep.

I may not be saving the free-world, but it it is still an excellent tip. Brilliant idea Mr Churchill! Thanks for your endorsement of my strange sleeping habits.


Image courtesy[SalvatoreVuono]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You may want to read further on biphasic and polyphasic sleep patterns.

14 thoughts on “Ten days a week

  1. That’s awesome Elizabeth! It’s a great thing to know yourself so well that you can maximize your ability to get things done! I like to sleep 7 1/2 – 8 hours every night. I don’t take naps unless I’m on a tropical beach (the sound of the ocean or the breeze are the culprits) I am most creative in the morning so I write first drafts of posts or letters, think up ideas, dream of future endeavours, and in the afternoons, I can edit, add structure to ideas and visions, etc…
    Diana xo

  2. So Churchill called it: ” . . . a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination.”
    I very much agree with this. I must have a lot of imagination for my motto has been for a long time to get up early. And if it turns out I did get ‘only’ six hours sleep and because of this I get tired during the day, well, then I try to squeeze in a nap during the day. I cannot see anything wrong with this.

  3. I remember my mother, when I was a child, would always take a 10 minute power nap after lunch, with her feet up on a stool and a newspaper over her eyes – she could then pack all her work into an energetic schedule that only ended at around 11 pm. She still takes an afternoon nap, at almost 98, but it lasts about an hour – then she keeps going till midnight!

    • My Mum (aged 87) is the same. I know that I can always phone her late in the evening because I know she will still be awake…. but I have to be careful in the afternoon as she may be asleep.

  4. I cannot sleep more than 6-7 hours, my inner ‘clock’ wakes me up! I do enjoy an occasional nap! I would not want to feel the stress that Winston and others feel, in leadership positions. I am able to cope with my stresses and life, but am not sure I would want any more than I am already handling! Smiles, Robin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s