Μελίφρων ύπνον (Honeyed sleep)
— Homer, The Odyssey

Homer invented the phrase ‘sweet dreams’.
On the last day of school before the 2021 Christmas break, like many people, I was running on empty. After a delightful, fully-loaded Christmas lunch at school, I wished my colleagues a Merry Christmas and I headed to North Finchley to pick up my kids from the cinema. It seemed like a thousand teenagers all went to see Spider-Man that day.
When I got home, I went to bed and fell asleep around 5pm. The next thing I knew it was midnight. Seven beautiful, scented, fragrant hours.

Recovery

Not many people have heard of Ranjan Das. He was a high flying corporate executive in Mumbai. He was the General Manager of SAP in India. (SAP is the enterprise wide business system that most large companies use for accounting, purchasing and manufacturing). Das was ambitious, he was touted as the next global Chief Executive of SAP. He worked non-stop, went to the gym several times a week and was running regularly. He was interviewed on TV, running along the sea promenade in Mumbai. He was asked if he got enough rest, and his reply was, “Sleep is a scarce commodity, these days.”
Three months after that interview, he died from a heart attack. He was 42-years-old. His autopsy showed he had Premature Arteriosclerosis. His blood vessels and the walls of his arteries were hardened, restricting blood flow to organs and tissue.
High performance needs recovery. The optimal combination is mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery. A synergy across all of these four. Energetic movement and going for a run isn’t relaxation. Your mind might think so, and it’s time to switch off, and that’s good, but your body treats it as work. Recovery is the hidden gem. It means sitting in the garden for an hour, doing nothing. Leaving your phone in the house, and getting proper rest. As well as sleep.

Morrissey on Desert Island Discs (recorded in November 2009, BBC Sounds)

Kirsty Young: You moved to LA in 1998. You were 40. Was that a mid-life crisis?
Morrissey: Yes. Obviously. Why else would anybody go to Los Angeles?
Kirsty Young: You sold out the Hollywood Bowl faster than The Beatles. Why do you think they love you so much there?
Morrissey: I wouldn’t question it too deeply. I just accept, and I’m grateful. Let’s just leave it at that.
Kirsty Young: It must give you quite a lot of muscle with the record companies, if you sell tickets that fast and you have constituencies that are as enthusiastic as they are.
Morrissey: Would you believe, absolutely none. I don’t think they pay attention to anything like that. They are a strange breed of people.
Kirsty Young: Is it true you’ve got a big Latino following?
Morrissey: It’s very big, yes. I think they’re very taken by anything that has a sweep of passion, and urgency. And rodomontade. Whatever that word is. Do you know what that word is?
Kirsty Young: No, I don’t. We’re all suitably impressed, whatever it is … So you can take a luxury onto your desert island. What will it be?
Morrissey: I’ll take a bed. Because I like to go to bed. Going to bed is the highlight of everybody’s day. I like to be hidden. And I like to sink. We all love to go to bed and love to go to sleep. We can switch our brains off and forget about ourselves. Desert island or not, what’s the point without a decent bed?

James Neophytou

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