There’s a global sleep deficit right now.
Maybe you just need more sleep.
And yeah, I know. Galileo only slept 3 hours a night. Nicola Tesla did all his sleeping standing up waiting for the tram. Eddie Murphy practices holotropic breathing and coffee grind enemas, and never needs to sleep.
Yeah, yeah. All the greats were too busy being great to sleep. Who has time to sleep when you’re working on a perpetual motion device?
And so a lot of so-called success gurus are going to tell you to sleep less and achieve more.
I’m not one of them.
I’m a big believer in sleep.
In fact, I think that we, as a society, are massively under-slept.
(Which is probably why we’re so grumpy and violent).
We’ve set up a world that keeps us constantly juiced up and stimulated, right up until the point where we turn out the lights.
(… and then we wonder why we’re not sleeping well.)
And I’m talking artificial stimulants – like coffee, chocolate and computer screens. (The blue light in device screens tells our brains that it’s daylight, and not time to go to bed.)
But I’m also talking more ‘natural’ stimulants – things like socialising – which is very stimulating and is now accessible to us 24/7 thanks to social media, and endlessly worrying about our endless problems.
Little wonder we’re not getting restorative sleep. We’re so wired-up that it takes us ages to wind down… if we wind down at all.
I really miss the kind of sleep I used to get when I worked on the farm in my younger days. True, the financial pressures of the farm were Dad’s problem, so I just had to make sure I got through my chores.
But on the farm, there aren’t all that many problems you can deal with once the sun goes down. And so you naturally ‘switch off’.
And because you’ve had a tough physical day, your body easily slows down and drops into sleep.
That’s another one of our problems I reckon. We’re over-worked mentally, but underworked physically.
Our minds take on a huge load, and we never really give them the time they need to digest. We just pack more and more facts, theories and problems in there, and our brains just end up a bit constipated.
I reckon a good chunk of our sleep is just our minds chewing through all the bits of information we’ve stuffed them with during the day. The actual time left for restoration and repair… well, it just isn’t enough.
And I think if we’re not physically working very hard, then I think our bodies just end up a bit confused about the line between awake and asleep. Are we on, or are we resting?
Ultimately, we end up doing neither. We’re tired and dopey when we’re awake, and we’re on and anxious when we’re asleep.
So, I really think you should sleep more. If that’s what you feel you need, I’d probably go with that.
Ideally that would be supplemented with practices to help you break up your mental constipation (journaling, meditation?) and regular exercise.
But if you need to sleep, don’t feel bad about it. Don’t feel like your letting Galileo down.
There is a global sleep deficit. If you feel inspired to play your part, go for it.