“In Cantelães I sleep like an aged baby”

Psychiatrist and sexologist Júlio Machado Vaz, author of several television and radio programs on our emotions and behaviour, says he still suffers from insomnia but he sleeps “like an aged baby” when he is in his house in Cantelães, Vieira do Minho, Braga.


Does love (also) mean respecting each other’s sleep? Even when one of the partners obviously sleeps too much…?
In my experience, love also means respecting the other’s sleep… when the other snores.

As a citizen, does it worry you that many politicians claim to function on few hours of sleep? Should we assume it affects their decision-making?
In theory, yes, it can affect cognitive processes and even physical health, but we cannot forget the diversity that characterizes us nor the quality of sleep.

Former Greek Minister Yanis Varoufakis confessed that he slept two hours every day for five months while he was minister…
It earned him little in political terms. But I suppose he already got back in shape in that poor little house by the sea that appeared in magazines.

Freud said that “dream is the faithful guardian of our mental health, our joy of life, since life is nothing but a continuous search of pleasure, contradicted by reality”…
True, but let us not forget the nightmares…

Do you ever wake up in the night with an idea? Do you usually register it?
Rarely, it happens more often that I wake up dreaming I’m in meetings that will take place the next day.

Are you careful about your sleep behaviours, such as keeping regular bedtime hours, not drinking coffee, etc.?
I try to go to bed between midnight and 1 a.m. and I try to drop the screens a couple of hours before. But I often sin.

What do you think about the expression that God does not sleep?
If it is true, than we messed up so much that he cares about another planet instead to avenge the insomnia caused by us!

Have there been situations in your life in which sleep has been good counsellor? To what extent?
Many. Especially when it meant avoiding falling in the increasingly common traps that make up this hectic world. It prevented me from reacting rather than acting.

Have you ever had insomnia? Are you a “night owl” or a “lark”?
If I ever had? I still do! In Porto, to be precise. In Cantelães I sleep like an aged baby.

Do you recall a funny story having to do with sleep or lack thereof?
Like my father, I hate “calendar” celebrations. And, just like him, it already happened to me to be woken up by the tribe to celebrate the New Year’s Eve and then go back to sleep on the couch while the others jump on chairs and devour raisins.

Can you tell us a fanciful dream you have had?
I was delighted to dream that Benfica was three-time champion. But I fear it might be just fantasy though… (laughs)