Yesterday I bestowed favored animal status to the giraffe, based primarily on its ability to sleep less than 30 minutes per day. People were surprised - as they often are - by how much I hate to sleep, and particularly how irritated I am every night when I need to fall asleep.
In response, many readers and friends declared their everlasting love for sleep.
Here’s a question I’d like to pose:
Do people really like to sleep, or do they like to fall asleep and possibly wake from sleep?
Since human beings are functionally unconscious while they sleep, the ability to take pleasure in the act of sleeping seems almost impossible. You can certainly love the subsequent feeling of renewal and vigor that sleep has on your body and mind, but when sleep is actually taking place, it’s impossible to experience pleasure in the act of sleeping because you’re not aware of your surroundings or even of your own body.
Is your arm under the pillow? Resting on your chest? Draped over a loved one? You don’t know, so how is it possible to experience any kind of pleasure given that level of unconsciousness?
Do people really love to sleep, or alternatively, do people enjoy occupying a horizontal position in a space of comfort and relaxation, unburdened from the expectations of the world?
This is what they really love when they profess their love for sleep. Right? They actually adore that period of time prior to sleep and immediately following sleep. The feeling of coziness. The removal of most of the physical demands on the body. The ability to push aside responsibilities and worries for a period of time.
Isn’t this - and not the unconscious state of sleep that follows - what people love?
Shouldn’t people be saying:
“I love assuming a horizontal position on a soft surface, my head slightly elevated by similarly soft surfaces, while simultaneously covered by soft linens. And while in that position, I enjoy closing my eyes and pushing the worries and cares of the world aside for a time.”
Isn’t this - and not the unconscious state that follows - the thing that people love?
I’m just asking.
Though I hate to sleep and am genuinely irritated almost every night with the need to stop my life for a period of time to recharge my brain, I admittedly enjoy lying down in my soft bed (particularly if my wife is present) and assuming a position of comfort.
That part of sleep is great. No complaints whatsoever. If that part could last about 15-30 minutes, and if I could remain conscious for the entire time, I would also profess my love for sleep. The problem is that I remain conscious for less than a minute before I drift off into stupid, unproductive, unconscious sleep for a ridiculous 4-6 hours.
Yes, it’s true. I despise sleep. But lying down in a soft place beside my wife for a little while? That sounds great, just as long as I can remain conscious and therefore aware of the enjoyment that I’m experiencing.
Isn’t this how you feel, too?
Again, just asking.