Sleep Is The New Sex
“Men think about it every seven seconds or so. Women romanticize it. Teenagers yearn for the weekends, when they might get a little of it… Sleep is the new sex.” – Susan A. Nielsen, journalist for The Oregonian
The National Sleep Foundation has confirmed what you've long suspected: Americans aren't getting enough sleep.
The culprits are:
Email: It just won't let us unplug from the grid. We stay up late, tapping out messages lest someone be offended by our lack of response.
Caffeine: Our shortage of sleep has deepened in lockstep with the rising popularity of gourmet coffee. Coffee goes up. Sleep goes down. Surprised?
Alcohol: A little wine may help put us to sleep, but it also keeps us from sleeping deeply. Alcohol robs us of much-needed rest during the night.
Lack of exercise: Our bodies need physical exertion. The more we sweat, the better we sleep. But few of us are getting any real exercise.
Overcommitment: We're taking care of our jobs, our children, and our parents, then trying to squeeze out a few droplets of me-time. Too much to do in too few hours is keeping our motors revving at redline.
Instant Gratification: We want what we want and we want it now. We make purchases the moment we can qualify for the payments because acquiring things is how we keep score, right? Then, Impending Financial Doom keeps us anxious and chases sleep from the room. So we take a pill. Doctors prescribed drugs to 42 million of us last year who said we couldn't sleep. Two billion dollars is what we spent for sleeping pills in 2005. But the 300 million spent by pharmaceutical companies to advertise sleep-inducing drugs had nothing to do with that, right? You and I aren't affected by advertising.
Technology: The uses we find for it proclaim our belief in the instant and easy.
Let me tell you how screwed up I am: Sitting on a reclining sofa with my laptop connected to the web by wi-fi, Pandora streams my unique blend of tunes through our home stereo system by means of a wireless Squeezebox. When Pennie places her robotic vacuum cleaner on the floor and activates it, Pandora disconnects. A few minutes of experimentation reveal that the wireless signal of the robotic vacuum is interfering with the wireless Squeezebox. I turn off the vacuum, restore Pandora, then walk into the kitchen to reheat my coffee in the microwave, only to learn that my instant food-heating device likewise disconnects my personalized online music service.
I begin looking around for my dog, Astro.
Yes, I had a George Jetson moment and I didn't like it.
I've decided that maybe it's time to read On Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau, the American colonial who said 160 years ago that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” His advice: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. . . .”
Sounds good to me.
I've decided to go to Walden Pond with Henry David, if only for a few minutes each night before I go to bed. Want to join me? The book is in the public domain and is therefore available as a free download.
3.0MB PDF File Courtesy of Wizard Academy Press
To heck with keeping up with the Joneses! Henry and I hereby declare the Jones to be the winners by acclamation. And thus one withdraws from the rat race.
Onward, friend. Onward to Walden Pond.
And to sleep.
Roy H. Williams
Look in the left column of today's Monday Morning Memo and you'll see a button that let's you hear the Wizard narrate the memo in his own voice, complete with sound effects… Thank You to Richard Grosbard. (If you remember that name, it's because Richard is one of the Wizard's artistic and intellectual mentors. Specifically, the one to whom the opus Accidental Magic was dedicated a few years back.) – Dave Nevland, audio engineer and producer