On Sleep

Today is 6/27/13

I’ve been alive for 20 years and 9 days

It’s important to know that I was born and raised in New Jersey

In that time, certain things in America have progressed.


Progress is our first word.

I have heard more than once. “I wish I didn’t have to sleep so much so I could do more”


Ok now it’s July 3rd. Hi Dennis!

The word was progress. I’d wager to say that there was a splitting moment that brought our focus from living to producing. I’m not too well-versed in history, but I think it’s fair to set the industrial revolution as this point. Since then, we’ve entered into a mindset of mass production.

In 1800, there were 1 billion people alive

In 1960, there were about 2.5 billion people alive

Now, in 2013, there’s 7 billion people.


How can we help but develop a sense of mass production? In 50 short years, we’ve tripled our population to numbers of which we could never have dreamt. This essay isn’t meant to address or solve that issue. Frankly, I don’t know what is in store for us in that department.

What I have noticed is the production-based mindset that has developed in everyday life since then. To sit and do nothing is a sin because we could be doing, making, progressing. It is easy to quantify production. We can look at how many things we had, then compare that to how many things we have later. Due to its quantitative nature, I think the ideas are too simple and therefore don’t hold the key to the mindset. So to get back to our original word, the key is Progress. We relate progress to production, and that is the mistake; we already have a word for that! I think progress is the abstract, personal experience that we have with ourselves and the world. How can you really tell if you’re making progress at any one moment? Here’s a case:

A high jumper. If we were to map her trajectory and judge her at each moment, we’d be conflicted. At the moment before jumping, she needs to crouch down. We all know this is how to jump. Bend down then spring up. But just think, if you were to pause at that moment, you’d think “what’s she doing, that’s the opposite direction.” But the big picture shows that that is progress.

Progress is not a vector. Just because we’re moving “backwards” doesn’t mean it’s a “negative” thing. Progress can’t be plotted and judged. Time is just too much for us to have that power alone.


Now for the practical part. From the linking of progress and production, I find certain battles with sleep. As I quoted earlier, “I wish I didn’t have to sleep so I could do more.” There is the mistake. Sleep is a part of progress. It gives us dreams and lets our bodies heal. And what if we evolved to not need sleep, but never lost our mindset? I’d wager to say the new quote would be “I wish I could slow down time, because even though I have 24 hours, I need more time.” I take that back, I hear that now.

A good book to help demonstrate this point is Momo by Michael Ende.



I don’t know how long we want these essays, so I’ll just say one more thing for now.


Even if we may not want it, our bodies need sleep. That’s who we are as humans right now. There is no point in fighting it; rather there are reasons to love it. It is freedom and relaxation. I’m in college, so I see a lot of college students fighting this. They pull all-nighters to get their work done, yet never have enough time to do what they need. However, I get 8 hours a night and have more than enough time to accomplish my tasks. That’s because states beget states. What I mean is, happiness is contagious, so is sadness, so is every state. We are affected by and affect everything. If you get a consistent good night sleep, whatever that means for your body, then I promise you will see an increase in quality of life and quantity in life. (this case also holds elements of procrastination, but I guess we can save them). And this is all a result of the cyclical nature of affection. Sleep will allow our bodies to heal and prepare for the day ahead, so then all things that happen thereafter will receive the affection of this healed state. Our thoughts, actions, interactions; they all become bled on by our state.


Ok I’ll stop there for fear of length (at least this time)


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