diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 24, 2003

We asked 76 people when their bedtime was. Our survey said...

When's your bedtime?
9pm (4)
10pm (10)
11pm (18)
midnight (17)
1am (15)
2am (12)
Total number of votes: 76

9pm (5%) Nobody goes to bed at 9pm. Actually that's not true because apparently at least four of you say you do. I can only assume that one of you does shift work and another of you is under the age of 10. However, I note that the other two of you both voted at half past eleven last night, so I suspect you were lying about your bedtime (or else you live in a different timezone to here). So let's move on.

10pm (13%) One in six of my readers is in bed by 10pm. There would seem to be six possible reasons for this.
1) Your day is so physically or mentally exhausting that by mid-evening you need to go straight to bed because you're knackered.
2) You need eight hours sleep, at least, and can't be doing with anything less.
3) You no longer have any time for personal space once you've got home from work, cooked a meal and put the children to bed.
4) Big Brother is rubbish, so you never bother to stay up to watch it.
5) You live in an Iron Age hut and go to bed when the sun goes down.
6) You're not going to bed to sleep, you're going to bed to have carnal relations with your partner.

11pm (24%) The most popular bedtime, according to my survey. You've watched the ten o'clock news, you've despaired at tomorrow's weather forecast, you've flicked over to Graham Norton but his guests are all American non-entities, you've checked out Newsnight but it's a bit highbrow, you've waddled to the kitchen to make a nice milky drink, you've settled down to read six pages of a good book, and it's lights out at eleven. Very nice. I could never go to bed that early though, not unless I was ill.

midnight (22%) The average bedtime, according to my survey. (For any statisticians out there, the mean bedtime is actually 11:51pm) There's something quite satisfying about staying up until tomorrow, and it seems that most of us like to stay up until at least the witching hour before retiring for the night. Just in time for Big Ben and the Radio 4 news headlines, even if some of you can't quite manage to stay awake for the shipping forecast. Wonderfully soporific, that.

1am (20%) Some of us, and I include myself in this category, stay up until 1am most mornings. That extra hour after midnight makes a big difference to how much I can get done in a day. That's seven extra hours awake in a week, over a day extra every month and a fortnight extra every year. In fact by staying awake until 1am every morning until I'm 80 I'd be increasing my conscious life expectancy by about two years. That's assuming I don't waste it all by sleeping in late every morning, or otherwise end up so tired in the morning that I accidentally walk in front of a bus tomorrow.

2am (16%) One in six of you is still awake at 2am. Maybe you like the peace and solitude of the early hours of the morning so that you can get on with various important tasks uninterrupted. Maybe you're on shift work, or at least your body still thinks it is. Maybe you suffer from insomnia and barely sleep a wink every night. Maybe you're contributing to a late-night talk-radio phone-in. Maybe you don't need to be up until 10am so you might as well stay up late too. Or maybe you're the selfish idiot in the flat nextdoor who plays loud dance music until 3am in which case it'd be appreciated if you went to bed at 9pm instead please. But, however long you manage to sleep, do have a good night and sweet dreams.

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