I know a lot of sleep-deprived people. I have been one of those people. I am embarrassed to say that I have been one of those people who said, “I can sleep when I am dead.” Sleep deprivation can cause the same level of impairment as being under the influence. In Matthew Walker’s popular book on sleep, Why we sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams, he says, “Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain. Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it.”
TL;DR: check out his TED talk and get scared straight to an earlier bedtime: https://youtu.be/5MuIMqhT8DM
We consolidate information we’ve learned while we sleep, and if we don’t sleep, this consolidation doesn’t happen. Sleep also cleans toxins from our brains. Sleep deprivation has a bad effect there, too.
We probably all did our share of doom scrolling during the stay-at-home portion of the pandemic. We know our phones are addictive. They are designed to be that way.
In the 90s, the hip-hop group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy released their song Television, the Drug of the Nation. They really had no idea what was coming. Now the television is in our pocket. We are connected to everything all the time, and it keeps us up at night.
This makes rest a revolutionary act.
I am reading Tricia Hersey’s (AKA The Nap Ministry) new book, Rest is Resistance. It’s a good starting point to think about who is served by your lack of sleep.
A lot of our capitalistic culture reinforces that production equals value and rest equals a loss of value or, even worse, laziness.
So we rise and grind. I meet very few people who are not exhausted. Maybe we need to stop and rest here?
If you know me IRL, you might know that I can face anything after a good night’s sleep. There are some days that sleep is more important than food. And I really like food. 🙂