Posts Tagged ‘ life ’

Choose life, choose a nap, choose sleeping for eight hours a night

Over the last 3 months, studies have shown what students, children and cats have known all along – napping is good.

Proper, full-blown, all night sleeping, as we all know, is good too. A story in The Guardian today reports on studies from the University of Warwick and the Federico II University medical school in Naples which show that consistently having less than six hours sleep a night significantly increases a person’s chance of premature death (as does having consistently more than nine hours per night). Why both? Because, according to the University of Warwick’s Professor Francesco Cappuccio, while a lack of sleep can lead to ill-health, excessive sleep is often an indicator of existing ill-health. As noted in the study, earlier research has linked health risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes to lack of sleep.

But it’s the naps that are the real inner victory for students, children and cats. Another study, by the University of California Berkeley, reported in February (by The Independent and The Telegraph among others) shows that afternoon naps boost brain power and memory. The reason being that napping after lunch allows the hippocampus to properly file all the information it’s been fed over the day so far. Professor Walker of the University of California Berkeley explains thus:

It’s as though the e-mail inbox in your hippocampus is full and, until you sleep and clear out those fact e-mails, you’re not going to receive any more mail. It’s just going to bounce until you sleep and move it into another folder.

So the point? Sleep well, live well, live long.

Have a nice nap:):-


Dr Atkinson on James Bulger case: “under-12s can’t be criminals” …Say what now?

A Times Online article this morning talks about the new Children’s Commissioner’s view that children under the age of 12 should not be prosecuted for any crime.

Preposterous? Damn straight it is.

The Times’ interview with Dr Maggie Atkinson centres on the James Bulger/Jon Venables/Robert Thompson case.

There’s several conflicting points here:

Blood shouldn’t generally leave the body, it’s a primal knowledge. Blood is bad. Kids should know right from wrong.

However, kids are very unlikely to know right from wrong if they aren’t raised morally by parents.

But then again, in this case, the victim was kicked, beaten with an iron bar, bottom-half stripped, stoned with bricks and genitally mutilated. His body was then laid on a railway track, his head weighed down by rubble for a train to disguise what the 11-year-old murderers had done. His body was cut in half by a train.

If they didn’t know it was wrong, why try to disguise it?

Dr Atkins also believes that teenagers are too often vilified. “If you have to go all the way to giving out an antisocial behaviour order, you have failed, because you haven’t given positive activities to that person.”

‘Positive activities’?

It is still a tough call. Children don’t appreciate life as much, perhaps, as many adults do and there have been success stories of child rehabilitation following serious crimes (in this case bludgeoning an old lady to death). Is the ‘need’ for harsher sentences actually a need to satisfy society’s blood lust?

Conversely, if you don’t know right from wrong by age ten, will you ever? Even in an irresponsible household where children can watch any film, play any game, there is always the pervading understanding that murder, rape and torture are wrong.

So perhaps the parents should be held accountable and the children moved to foster care? The problem here is that there is a lot of negative stigma regarding foster care and that has to come from somewhere. (NB: the problems with children in the care of the social system is a whole other kettle of fish and too long for this post)

Lock them up and throw away the key?

No. What’s the point? Suffering? Not with colour TVs, playstations and duvets. Prison should be like the gaols of old: cold cells, thin blankets, tiny windows, suspension of state benefits. Although obviously, in the name of human rights, the odd run around the yard would be in order.

Prison overcrowding? Capital punishment for the guilty-without-doubt, un-rabilitatable, serial offenders of serious crimes such as rape, murder and torture. Frees up some space and some money that could go in to the rehabilitation of individuals who do have a shot at reform, like children.

…though perhaps not all children.

Some things, some acts, are beyond reform.

%d bloggers like this: