We’ve all been there – that moment when you suddenly doze off somewhere you definitely shouldn’t and only catch yourself with a jolt as your head slumps forwards.
If you’re lucky, your nodding off hasn’t been spotted and you can sheepishly get back to whatever you were supposed to be doing and no one is any the wiser.
However, if fortune isn’t on your side, you are well and truly caught out and everyone around you is sniggering while you squirm in embarrassment.
It can happen on trains, at the theatre or cinema or even more shamefully, you can even succumb to a quick snooze at work.
Turns out work meetings are likely to send most people to sleep as a survey has found that the average British worker sits through 6,239 meetings in their career.
However, 60 per cent of those questioned admitted they found the said meetings pretty pointless and 70 per cent confessed to zoning out during such sessions.
One in five disclosed they had caught forty winks.
I’m definitely not guilty of having a power nap at work myself – far too busy don’tcha know. But I do have recollections of once falling victim to dozing off at work in my early days at the LEP.
I had only been at the paper a few weeks and was still in that student mentality of trying to burn the candle at both ends, not realising that this is impossible to sustain once you’ve entered the world of work.
As the late nights and early mornings caught up with me, one afternoon, my head drooped forwards as sleep took hold.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get away with it as my then news editor spotted me. Luckily, he saw the funny side and took great delight in waking me up with a jerk by calling my telephone extension.
Nowadays, the only time I cave in to unexpected sleep is in the evenings, usually while watching telly.
My biggest problem is that I am what Hubby calls a “sleep fighter” and will never admit when I am tired. I hate going to bed early and always stop up as late as I can physically get away with, although I often regret it with a groan in the mornings when my alarm clock goes off.
My refusal to admit when I am tired has resulted in me missing the end of many films and numerous episodes of TV dramas have gaping holes in their storylines as I have dozed off.
Hubby says I seem to have the motto “Sleep is for wimps” and instead of owning up to being tired, I try to battle through when he would sooner I just said: ‘I’ve gone sleepy – let’s watch the rest tomorrow’.
It’s got to the point that Hubby is so mistrustful of my sleepiness that he asks: “Are you still awake?” at frequent intervals when we’re watching something together. Which is highly irritating when I’m wide awake.
But even when I am drowsy, I deny it anyway and say: “Yes!” in a stroppy manner when Hubby questions my state of consciousness. I excelled myself the other week with my denial tactics when Hubby and I were watching telly while lying on the sofa.
So tired was I, not only did I drop off, but actually woke myself up with a most unladylike snore.
“Did you just fall asleep?” Hubby asked incredulously. “No” I denied quick as a flash. “I think I’ve got sinus problems.”
Sinus problems! I don’t even know where that came from. Well actually, I do. A friend had been telling me about her sinus problems earlier that day and how she needed treatment so it must have planted the idea in my head.
Amazingly, Hubby believed me. Until the following day when I confessed I had no idea what had happened in the episode we watched the previous evening as I had indeed fallen asleep. I also admitted I had no idea where my sinuses were or what they did.
Anyway, Hubby can’t really judge as his track record for nodding off is terrible. I have lost count of the number of children’s shows, theatre trips and cinema outings where I had to jab him in the ribs as he is sat there fast asleep.
We were both tired all last week although thankfully neither of us snoozed at work.
Our nine-year-old son is to blame after waking us up uncharacteristically early at the start of the week.
We are fortunate enough to have children who sleep well, go to bed when they should, sleep tight all night and then don’t wake up too early.
However, on this particular day, at around 5am, Cameron wandered into our room, woke us and started rambling about “leaving pens on a radiator” and how someone was coming to “check his radiator for pens.”
We had no idea what he was on about and came to the conclusion he was sleepwalking and tucked him back into bed.
A few hours later, Cameron had no recollection of his early rise, but told me he was tired.
Then he said: “Never mind, I’ll just have a nap at school like I usually do”.
“WHAT?!!” was my startled response. “When do you have naps at school?”
“Oh just at breaktimes and lunchtimes if I’m tired” he replied airily.
We thought we’d swiftly put an end to that and bedtime has been brought forward.
In fact, I think it’s time for an early night for us all.