Sleeping in India and Putting My Brain Straight [en]

[fr] Le silence nécessaire au sommeil, c'est il me semble quelque chose d'acquis. Un segment du podcast mentionné avant-hier parle de l'Inde... je ne pense pas que donner des boules quiès aux indiens améliorera vraiment leur qualité de sommeil. Et sinon, je continue avec intention à reprendre mon cerveau en main, y compris pour l'administratif et la compta!

After writing my post the day before yesterday, I listened to the end of the two-part series on sleep from Freakonomics Radio. I like Freakonomics because they go beyond the easy fluffy questions, and dig down to where things can be uncomfortably unclear. Maybe I should read the book.

Liseron coloré

Anyway. There was a segment on sleep in India (Chennai to be precise), and some of the comments stuck me as a little… ethnocentric and uncritical. Yes, India is noisy, definitely. And we westerners have trouble sleeping in the noise.  But remember that we have had to learn to sleep in the calm. The womb, where we all come from, is a noisy place. It is only with time that noise starts waking us up.

I remember hearing about the miller who will wake up when his mill stops (sound gives way to silence). More recently, I’m sure I read something about a study where they put volunteers in a terribly noisy sleep lab and kept their eyes open to flashing lights, and they fell asleep just fine. (Couldn’t dig it out, if you find it let me know.)

Many Indians, in my experience, have no trouble whatsoever sleeping in the noise. Some cannot sleep without the noise and wind of the fan whirring above their heads, even when it is cold. So, I’m not sure that providing Indians with earplugs will actually help them get better sleep.

Also, one thing that stuck me in India is that a bed is just “a place to sleep”. It seems to be less of a private, intimate place than in the West. In that respect, I’m not sure one should interpret people sleeping in weird places the same way one would here: maybe they’re just sleeping, and not “passed out from exhaustion”.

This Indian sleeping comment aside, I’ve been mulling over my efforts to get my brain back on track. One thing I didn’t mention in my last post was that I am trying to put more intention in things. If I realise I have forgotten something, I make an effort to recall it. I make an effort to be organised and not let things slip. I am making a conscious effort to get back on top of things, and it seems to be working.

Obviously it’s not enough to help me keep track of everything I’ve read, because I can’t seem to find the piece which talked about this guy who made a conscious effort to floss every day as an exercise in self-discipline. If you can’t get yourself to floss each day (less than a minute of your time!), how can you hope to stick to bigger things?

So, I’m flossing. These last two nights, I also went to bed with my phone on airplane mode and in the living-room — just me, the cats and my kindle. This morning, I didn’t touch my e-mail or social media until I had showered, had breakfast, and headed down to the office. Environment design

I’ve also decided to stop being flaky about certain things, in particular around admin and accounting. I have no love for either of them, and like to say that I am with financial stuff like some are with algebra: my brain just blacks out. Well, enough of that. It’s not rocket science. If I was capable of doing Fourier transforms at some point in my life, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to remember which papers I need to bring my accountant for my taxes and accounting each year. Hell, I’m even enjoying listening to Planet Money!

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Le sommeil, c’est tellement important [fr]

[en] Sleep is so important. Ever noticed how a day is going well, and suddenly you realised that it might simply be because you had a really good night of sleep?

Quintus in December 7“Bonne nuit!”

“Tu as bien dormi?”

C’est pas pour rien que le sommeil est bien présent dans nos rituels sociaux avec nos proches.

Vous avez déjà remarqué comme une bonne nuit de sommeil rend tout tellement plus facile?

Il y a pour ma part des jours où je me sens toute guillerette, où tout va bien, et où je réalise soudain que bien sûr, j’ai dormi 8h cette nuit. Ou même un peu plus.

Quand je pédale sur mon vélo le matin (aïe, faut que je m’y remette), il arrive que mes jambes pèsent trois tonnes, que la pompe ne suive pas, que je doive me traîner à travers mes kilomètres. Ah ouais, j’ai dormi moins de 6h, ça doit être ça.

Durant une partie de mes études, j’étais dans un état de fatigue chronique. Je luttais pour ne pas m’endormir durant les cours. Je n’arrivais pas à me lever le matin. Il avait fallu que je prenne le taureau par les cornes, avec planning d’heures de coucher, tierce personne à qui je rendais des comptes, tout ça, pour me mettre à dormir assez après tant d’années en mode zombie.

Je rechute de temps en temps: j’ai du mal à faire la grasse matinée, et encore plus de mal à mettre fin à ma soirée. Pourtant j’adore avoir bien dormi.

Une vie avec assez de sommeil, c’est une vie en technicolor au lieu de noir et blanc.

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Busy Week [en]

[fr] Semaine très chargée. Toujours pas le temps de remettre mon blog en état, même si c'est la chose la plus présente à mon esprit chaque jour. En plus mon Mac m'a lâchée ce week-end (heureusement pas durant Lift!) -- réparé déjà, toutefois, grâce à la célérité de Mémoire Vive à Lausanne.

To top it all, just after the Lift conference (you can read the notes I took there by looking at the previous posts), my MacBook fan decided it was time to die. Did you see me holding my ear up to my laptop during the conference? That was because it had started making nasty noises. Thank goodness it waited until the conference was over to die.

Hectic week-end, therefore, but very speedy repairs (thanks Apple Care and Mémoire Vive) — I gave my computer in on Monday, and had it back on Wednesday morning (only because I couldn’t make it on time Tuesday night).

Not having my blog online is turning out to be a rather big source of stress, specially as I have a huge pile of critical things to do for clients or eclau right now. I keep wanting to fix the blog “right now” but I can’t, because other things come first. And while it’s offline, it feels like a kind of part of me is missing — like I don’t have access to all my memories or tools. And that’s what it is, actually. I keep pointing people to stuff on my blog, because that’s where I write stuff I want to be able to point others to. And I can’t.

In addition to that, I understood a few important things about what I actually do for a living (my main focus/skill is strategic stuff), and understanding that is going to change the way I present myself quite a bit. Blog posts and site updates in perspective.

But for now, some sleep, before a horribly busy end-of-week: I need to cram about 3 days work in 3 hours, which is all the office time I’ve got left until the week-end (on the road quite a bit, as you can guess).

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Night Jewellery [en]

An express survey for the readers of this weblog.

[fr] Chers amis lecteurs, retirez-vous votre quincaillerie (comprenez: "vos bijoux si vous en avez") pour dormir?

Do you remove all your jewellery at night, dear readers? (If you wear any daily, that is…)

I personally don’t, and I was talking with a friend yesterday who found that surprising.

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Sloppy Vienna Update [en]

A few random facts about the last two days in Vienna.

This will be short and incomplete because I am just about to go straight asleep in front of the screen. I spent the last two days roaming around with Horst, Suw and Philipp.

  • “Einbahn” means “one-way”, and not “subway” — those signs got me going round in circles on Friday
  • ate good food
  • froze watching “Citizen Kane” at the Vienna open air cinema last night
  • regretted not attending BlogWalk after all
  • Horst is at least as much into Bollywood as I am!
  • lots of thoughts of things to post about languages and weblogs
  • black Switcher jacket lost and found (thanks to the anonymous soul who picked it up)
  • bad lasagna on the riverbank
  • girl-talk during the football match
  • not enough sleep, so much to read, so much to write, so much to talk

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