“Two separate beds do not separate love, they may even reinforce it”

Inês Maria Menezes, columnist and host of radio shows “Fala com Ela” (Talk to Her) and “O Amor é” (Love is), says she cannot imagine how anyone could find soberness amid the dizzying life of having just a few hours of sleep. As to different sleep rhythms in a couple, she says that “separate beds do not separate love, they may even reinforce it”.


On “Fala com Ela”, besides the interview to Professor Teresa Paiva, have you ever talked about sleep with some of the guests?
No, usually just about dreams… But, since it is a question that interests me, I usually like to know the work habits or daily routines of my guests, and this also includes the night and sleep.

Does love (also) mean respecting each other’s sleep? Even when one of the persons obviously sleeps too much…?
Love is an eternal game of compromise. The two will most likely have different sleep rhythms, so they will have to negotiate and find respect. Two separate beds do not separate love, they may even reinforce it.

Have you ever written about sleep in your columns?
Yes, many times. I am “another person” when I do not have enough sleep; I am vulnerable, fragile in many ways and more pessimistic. After a good night’s sleep, though, things get quite different.

Many politicians claim to function on few hours of sleep. Should we be alarmed considering the critical decisions they make?
I am very sceptical about what politics has become: a game of interests and usually for the benefit of the player, not of the mass that elected him. Claiming to function on few hours of sleep does not make you a hero, quite on the contrary. The heroes of our time are anonymous. I really would prefer that politicians did sleep well and that in their sleep they could find wisdom and humanity.

Former Greek Minister Yanis Varoufakis said that he was relieved because he was free of the “hectic timetable, which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable, during which he slept two hours every day for five months…
Two hours of sleep every night would drive any person into a spiral of madness. To me one sleepless night is enough to ruin the whole week. I cannot imagine how anyone could find soberness amid that dizzying life.

Do you have sleep hygiene behaviours such as not drinking coffee, regular bedtime, etc.?
I cannot drink coffee, although I love it. Coffee makes me alert and therefore it also affects my sleep. Nowadays, if I can, I go to bed before 11 pm.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with an idea? Do you usually write it down?
On the rare sleepless nights, usually from Sunday to Monday, I happen to fall in a creative whirlwind that keeps me awake. I do not write it down. If the idea or the conclusion is really important, it sleeps with me and wakes up intact the next day.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a weird phone call?
No, I always keep my phone on silent mode.

Which is your favourite literary quote on sleep or dreams?
“This is the dawn that I expected / The initial day whole and clean / Where we emerge out of the night and the silence / And dwell free in the substance of time”, by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.

What do you think about the expression that God does not sleep?
I would like to believe in both.

Have there been times when you felt that sleep was good counsellor? To what extent did it help you?
Sleep is always good counsellor. Sleeping well keeps your ghosts and demons away.

Are you an “owl” or a “lark”?
A lark! I am clearly a woman of the morning; I like the early light that enlightens us.

Do you remember any amusing personal or professional history related with sleep or lack thereof?
I only retain the laughter of my daughter while sleeping.

Can you tell us a fanciful dream you have had?
I would rather reveal that the things I dream rarely ever happen – including the good stuff. So I have been very happy in dreams that ended at Dawn.