Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A cot in every cubicle

I am an avid napper. When Napster was having trouble I thought about seeing if I could buy their domain name and fill it not with music but with nap-related tips and stories. I have designated two stations on my XM satellite radio receiver as official nap stations - one is sort of New Age "space" music, the other is the Folk Village. On Saturdays I often get up, work a bit, and then fix a big bowl of pasta with steamed vegetables. Then, of course, I'm ready for a major nap. I have three Labs (renowned for being serious nappers). Carlos lies on the floor by the couch. Lucy keeps my feet warm. The 89-pound Banjo slips between me and the couch. I'm not sure how he does that but as long as he doesn't push me off, it's fine.

You can see why the following AP story caught my attention. Once the study is complete, I think nappers should unite and invite monsieur Bertrand to the US. He's a hero already!

Just imagine how much more productive we could be if, when feeling a bit weary, we could take five and then fix a cup of coffee and hit the keyboard refreshed.

By Associated Press
Updated: 1/31/2007


The French already enjoy a 35-hour work week and generous vacation. Now the health minister wants to look into whether workers should be allowed to sleep on the job.

France launched plans this week to spend $9 million this year to improve public awareness about sleeping troubles. About one in three French people suffer from them, the ministry says.

Fifty-six percent of French complain that a poor night's sleep has affected their job performance, according to the ministry.

''Why not a nap at work? It can't be a taboo subject,'' Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Monday. He called for further studies and said he would promote on-the-job naps if they prove useful.

France's state-run health insurance provider will send letters explaining the importance of good sleep. The Health Ministry's Web site offers tips on how best to get a good night's rest.

The ministry's online ''Passport to Sleep'' recommends cutting down on coffee, tea, colas, and athletic activity after 8 p.m., shunning TV time or working late in the evening, and listening better to the body's own sleep signals, such as yawning.

Bertrand said sleepiness causes 20 percent to 30 percent of highway accidents across France each year.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

At least I don't have the bug going around

My lower back has been painful for the past week, a typical "hitch in my giddyup." If I sit in one place too long I can't stand up straight. I awoke this morning and turned over to hit the snooze button and the pain took my breath away. For a few moments I felt paralyzed. I eased myself out of bed, hung onto the stairwell, and made it downstairs for a cup of coffee. When I sat down on the couch, the pain hit me like a train again.

I was supposed to take our old dog, Carlos, in for tumor removal surgery this morning. My husband said he would take him, thank goodness. I went back upstairs to lie down. Andy came up to get ready and said I should hang from my arms to straighten out my spine. Uuggh I shouted back. He assured me it would really help.

"But where could I hang from?," I asked, ignoring the fact that I know Andy hangs from the tree outside every morning (which probably startles some passersby in the early haze).

"The magnolia tree outside."

"It's cold!"

Finally I crawled back downstairs, put on coat and shoes, and went outside. I did the prescribed "hang." I couldn't make it back upstairs so I fell asleep on the couch. I slept very soundly. When I stood up, I could unbend a little better.

The vet called to tell me he was starting Carlos' surgery and we discussed which tumors would be removed. His voice sounded hoarse and raspy. He said it had started with laryngitis and then, he thinks, has progressed into walking pneumonia. He said he felt good enough to do the surgery but says this bug is hitting older people really hard.

Andy lost his voice for about four days last week, which apparently is the first symptom of this nasty bug. He didn't seem to get any further symptoms, but for people with compromised systems, it can get pretty bad. The vet told me he had an uncle die from pneumonia and another is currently in the hospital with it.

Well, I haven't lost my voice and don't have a cough. That's a blessing, since I didn't get a flu shot this year. I guess if I keep doing hang-from-the-tree therapy, I'll soon be better.