You should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. You should get eight if you can swing it. If you’re tired in the afternoon, you should take a nap, if you can swing it. What do I mean where? What does it mean “if you can swing it”?
It means, if it’s possible for you to do. It’s an informal phrase. Can you do it? You should get eight hours of sleep, if you can do it, if you can swing it. Take an afternoon nap if you can swing it. Why do I say, “if you can swing it”? Well, I understand not everyone will be able to. Some people will not be able to swing it; they will not be able to do it.
You might invite a friend over to a party one night. But if that friend isn’t sure if he’ll be able to come, he might say, “I’ll come by if I can swing it, but I have a lot to do that day.” If I can make it, I’ll come by; I’ll come by if I can swing it.
You all know that I’m on vacation as you’re hearing this lesson. I’ve got a lot planned, but I’m not going to over-plan my vacation. If I don’t get to everything, that’s okay. There’s one town near where I’ll be that has hot springs. I’ve never been in hot springs before—basically a natural source of water that’s hot all year-round. In these hot springs, you can go swimming in pools that are naturally heated at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 32 degrees Celsius. I think that would be fun, but it’s not going to be the highlight of my trip. It’s a bit out of the way. I’ll go if I can swing it. If I’m too tired, if there’s too much going on that day, if the weather isn’t nice, then I won’t go. But if I can swing it, if I can make it happen, then I’ll go.
I’m also going to try to keep up with my Spanish studies on vacation. At night, there’s not much open, so after my daytime activities are done, I won’t have much to do at night. I think I’ll spend the time working on Spanish. But I don’t know how I’ll feel. I’ll study if I can swing it. If I can’t make it work, then I’ll catch up when I get back.
JR’s song of the week
The song of the week is “Daysleeper” by REM. It’s about someone who works the night shift and sleeps during the day, and it expresses the disorientation a person experiences working the graveyard shift, with the social isolation and the disrupted circadian rhythm.
When someone works overnight, we say they work the “graveyard shift”—don’t ask me why. Anyway, the lead singer said the song was inspired by a sign posted on the door of a New York apartment that said, “Daysleeper.” The sign was intended to tell other people not to knock or make a lot of noise because someone in that apartment works nights and sleeps during the day. As we learned today, that’s very difficult.
See you next time!
That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed these two lessons on the power of good sleep. Like I said on Monday, this has really been a big improvement in my physical and mental health over the last few months. I can tell you I have no desire to go back to the pre-COVID days of late nights, early mornings, disrupted sleep, no naps, “powering through” and so on.
Let me know what you think. Tell me what has been your experience with sleep, the regularity of sleep, and whether your habits have changed during COVID. The best place to do that is in the free Facebook group. You can join by going to PlainEnglish.com/Facebook and it will take you right there. So let us know what you think in there. And of course if you’re a Plain English Plus+ member, we’ll be talking about it on the live call we have on September 19.
If you’re not yet a member of Plain English Plus+ , you can of course join at any time. Learn more by visiting PlainEnglish.com/Plus . But real quick, we have interactive online forums; we have live calls twice per month; we have exercises, courses, videos, fast and slow audio—lots of ways to improve English with us. Check that out at PlainEnglish.com/Plus .