Lack of sleep is a problem for many New Zealanders. We work long days, finally get to bed, nod off for a few hours, then wake up, can't get back to sleep and lie staring into the dark.
Instead of rest we get hours of worry about taxes, things we need to fix round the house and our relentless march towards death and decay. We spend our days confused, angry, sore, hungry and in need of a hug.
Luckily I've discovered the answer to our sleeping problems. This is the second time I have done this. I thought I had discovered it a year ago. I wrote a column in this very publication about the benefits of lying to yourself. I was yelling in the mirror each morning: "I feel rested!" Tricking myself into a placebo eight hours. When I'd only had three.
Sadly that turned out to be stupid. Eventually your brains cottons on to your lies and you feel crap again.
My latest plan is better. This time it's based on sound thought and research.
I call it the "going to the toilet like a girl sleep solution".
Here's the rationale.
The average New Zealander needs several stress-relieving beers or wines in the evening. We work hard, we deserve them. Plus they're delicious. Then it's off to bed and sleep. A few hours later: bang, you're wide awake and badly needing a wee. So we stumble into the bathroom and turn on the lights.
Bathrooms are often white or cream. The lights are bright so you can see the things you need to pick out, shave or paint. So you flick the switch, white light blasts you right in the retina, your brain goes into day mode and you're screwed. You have no chance of getting back to sleep.
That's why you absolutely must do your wees in the dark. Keep it dim and you'll stay drowsy.
Unfortunately for males this leads to urine soaked tiles, cisterns and walls. Which leads to stinky bathrooms, slippery floors and spousal tension.
Sitting down and peeing like a girl is your only option. Simply feel your way to the bathroom in the dark, back in, do whatever business you need to. Keep it secret, no need for the lights, nothing on the tiles and off to bed with your brain still thinking it's night. It works.
Before you know it you've got a wife, two kids and a dog in the bed. That's too many mammals in a small area.
When you get back under the covers, don't be tempted to flick on your phone and check sports results or Trump stupidities. That's just blasting unwanted photons into your eye holes. It will wake you up. Light is the enemy of sleep.
So is my dog Colin. He's a little mini schnauzer-Jack Russell cross and a massive wuss. Cute and loveable but a total puss. Too scared to sleep by himself in his basket in the hall so he sneaks into our bed. Any disturbance, anywhere in our suburb, any time of night and he'll bark once, wake me up and then go back to sleep. He's too lazy to actually investigate.
The other night he wouldn't even come next door with me when the neighbours were being burgled. I looked back for support as I walked up their drive only to see Colin hiding on our deck. Peering round the corner 100m back. He's an embarrassment.
Worse still is the punishing kid bed invasions many of us suffer. You're fast asleep, then suddenly thump, thump, thump down the hall and one of your children is in the bed. They immediately go back to sleep themselves, leaving you awake as they raise the temp under the duvet to insane levels.
Before you know it you've got a wife, two kids and a dog in the bed. That's too many mammals in a small area. Too hot. If you do manage to go back to sleep the heat just leads to horrible nightmares about bodies you've buried under hedges or floor boards. It has to stop.
We all need a good night's sleep. Without it we become mentally unstable, angry, fat, lazy and stupid. Lying to yourself only works for so long. That's why the sensible Kiwi throws the dog outside, locks the bedroom door, keeps their phone off and wees like a girl.