COMMENT:

Anyone who gets up at stupid o'clock like I do is a signed up, fully subscribed massive fan of naps.

Siesta-friendly Europeans would agree. And now even the research is in favour of 40 winks during the day.

But it's not easy to just grab some shut eye in the middle of the day. In fact, unless you're living in a leafy Greek village, it's nigh on impossible. Yet according to new research it's very good for us.

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Research presented by the American College of Cardiology found that people who enjoy a midday snooze are more likely to have a "noticeable drop in blood pressure compared with those who didn't nap". The bonus here is a reduction in risk of cardio events like heart attacks.

The key to the nap though is just that – it's got to be a nap. A short snooze, not a four-hour marathon snore session under the duvet.

The amount of sleep we're supposed to get is often surveyed - and always changing measures. Much like the number of fruit and veges we're supposed to consume (is it five or 10 a day?).

Is the optimal sleep time eight hours? Or was it six? It seems whether you're a night owl or an early bird, we all at some stage have trouble sleeping.

I read yesterday that The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School had found that the "negative effects of sleep deprivation to be so great, that people who are drunk.. outperform those lacking sleep." (That could explain a lot of this show).

Sleep appears so elusive doesn't it? When you want it you can't have it, and then when you're ready to have it, you're not tired.

The older we get, the harder it seems to stay asleep. For parents of young children and babies, sleep is but a pipe dream. For shift workers, it's a necessity - but often impossible to get too.

So there's a lot of us wandering round jaded and tired, and just not getting the sleep.
And we don't have (sadly) a nap culture here either.

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults under 65 - but the reality is, we average less than that. It's more like about six hours.

In my case, I'm happy if I get five. Not enough, I know.

Is the ability to sleep genetic? I looked this up. According to the director of the Sleep Disorders Centre in Boston, sleep patterns are influenced by genetic differences.

But I raise this sleep issue because as I watched the footage of Winston Peters nodding off on his trip to Istanbul, during a speech by Turkish President Erdogan, I couldn't help thinking he typified the stats.

That "cumulative lack of sleep leads to unproductivity".

So what's the take home message here?

We all need more naps. Including Winston Peters.