The Need for Sleep

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Sleeping is the best thing we can do to improve our overall health; it’s so simple that it’s often forgotten or ignored. I’m currently reading an excellent book about why we sleep, and I’ve been surprised at the very negative effects lack of sleep can have on our mental and physical health, especially if we are building up a sleep deficit over a long period of time.

We all need both quantity and quality of sleep to function normally in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, there are those who boast about how little sleep they need, and there’s also an implied societal view that sleep is somehow lazy and unproductive; these can be easily demonstrated to be false and unhelpful.

Prolonged lack of sleep weakens your immune system, doubles your risk of cancer, and increases the your chances of suffering heart disease and stroke, for example. It also adversely affects your mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression and suicide. Worryingly, many road traffic accidents are caused by lack of concentration, drowsiness and microsleeps.

Although I’ve been aware of the effects of being sleep deprived for a while, I’m now more determined to do something about it – even if having three young children doesn’t make it easy, but as an older father I owe it to them to be healthy.

Note: I’ll post about the book in due course and give some tips on improving sleep.

Dog in an IKEA Bag

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Assuming you have a dog, how do they travel in the car with you? One of the dangers of travelling with a dog is driver distraction if they are unrestrained. Not only is this unsafe for the dog, the passengers and other road users, it can also invalidate your car insurance in the case of an accident; your insurer might not pay out because the dog should have been restrained, even if your dog wasn’t the cause of the accident.

This is how our dog Toby travels with us. Because we have three young children we recently had to upgrade to a larger car, one that has three separate seats in the back for their car seats. We also have two additional seats in the boot that can be folded away when not needed. Basically, Toby sits in an IKEA bag containing a soft dog bed (a cheap and efficient way to prevent dog hairs spreading through the car) and has a dog harness connected to a tether which attaches to the car seat belt fastener. It works for us. How does your dog travel with you?