How little sleep can you operate on? Could you handle staying up all night every night for the next five weeks? It's time to find out.
All the games in the 2019 Cricket World Cup are being played past Kiwi bedtimes. If you're a cricket fan you'll have had to change your sleeping habits already.
A week or so in and this World Cup is already one of the best ever. The return to the exciting everyone-plays-everyone format means a game every night. England's beautiful historic grounds look amazing. The coverage is excellent on Sky, RadioSport and iHeart Radio. This is cricket in the home of cricket. It's bloody great. Until you have to get up and go to work in the morning. That's rough.
This amount of great cricket this late at night is going to take a toll on the Kiwi cricket fan. That's why I've committed to being rubbish at work for the next five weeks. You should too.
We can, however, mitigate the damage.
Obviously, the Black Caps games are compulsory viewing. We are blessed with an amazing generation of cricketers. Kane "Steady the Ship" Williamson, Ross Taylor and Nips. Then there's Lovely Trenty, Guppy Shark Eye and The Minute Piece. The
Only an idiot wouldn't stay up all night every night until our boys bring that big gold and silver globe/cricket ball home.dashing Lockie "Whakamana Express" Ferguson and of course Tim "The Sexy Camel" Southee. Teams like this don't come along often. You would be silly not to enjoy this golden era no matter how late they happen to be playing.
But one of the things that make World Cups so great is suddenly caring about national teams you normally wouldn't. Generally, Kiwis don't zone into sporting fixtures between the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. But in a World Cup, you enjoy every game no matter how personally meaningless. It's what big tournaments are all about. The question is how many overnight games can you watch and still hold together some semblance of a work and family life? The answer is "most of them" but you have to be clever.
You'll need to drastically lower your sleep expectations. Forget eight hours. Scattered, disjointed periods of interrupted sleep are all that's on offer.
Most games start at 9.30pm New Zealand time. So grab half an hour at 1am during the innings break. Another hour on and off accidentally during the second innings and you're looking good. After the game, you can snatch a further two hours before work. That's three-and-a-half hours already. Then there's sleeping on the job. Half an hour at lunch and a couple of 15-minute stints in your workplace toilet should do it. That'll give you an honest four- and-a-half hours a night. Add an hour or two after dinner and you're probably getting more sleep than you usually do. Some games like last night's start at 12.30am. That affords you more than four hours of sleep face-down on the dinner table right there.
Here's a top tip for tea time zzzz. Red wine and overeating. A late night matched with a cheap goon, a pile of red meat and a gut-busting load of carbs and you're laughing. You'll be nodding off before the dishes are even cleared from the table.
Keep up a sensible sleeping schedule like this and you'll be able to watch a stupid amount of cricket and still operate at around 10 per cent work efficiency. Which could be as much as 50 per cent higher than normal.
Luckily, not all games go the distance. Take the Black Caps' demolition of Sri Lanka last week. The boys kindly cut two-and-a-half hours off normal playing time just for you. Then there are games like Pakistan v Sri Lanka. Cancelled without a ball being bowled thanks to the power of the English summer. Rainouts and down trous are sleep for jam.
A Cricket World Cup in England and Wales. So good. What a time to be alive. We are a nation blessed with a world-beating team and some extremely comfy couches. Only an idiot wouldn't stay up all night every night until our boys bring that big gold and silver trophy home.
As Neil Pye said in 1982: "Sleep gives you cancer.
"Everyone knows that."