Sleeping - The untold truth

by Felipe Melo 6 months ago in anxiety

It is overrated

Sleeping - The untold truth
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At least once a week I'm attacked with this nonsensical and barbaric statement: sleeping is good. In self-defense I usually throw baffled looks back to the offender, but just to be mercilessly finished: don't you think?

I'm not sure if it has to do with the poor basic education we are providing nowadays, or with some addiction to state illogical stuff, or even worse, if it is derived from some ingrained human cruel disposition to make other people's left side of the brain suffer, but the fact is that we have good-sleep-claimers everywhere, and their base is only growing. Let me explain.

For you to claim that you enjoy something, the foremost, necessary but not sufficient requirement is for you to be aware of it. You need to be conscious, wide-awake, attentive and as focused as possible to extract pleasant meaning from whatever experiences you have. Otherwise it is like saying ... yes, that pizza was amazing, even though I was in coma when I tasted it.

But when you sleep, you are - surprise - asleep. Bringing the old and helpful dictionary to the game, we discover that asleep can be translated to: not attentive or alert, inactive. And there you have it. The very first requirement for enjoyment is the most absent of the things when someone is asleep, thus, there is no way the same person can think about something as pleasant, unpleasant, desirable, sexy or boring. There is no conscience there to mediate those feelings.

Now, why am I so emotional about it, you may ask. There are two reasons. First, it is because I'm a warrior of truth. I chase it day and night (unless I'm asleep). Thus, whenever I get misleading statements, I cannot feel but infuriated and avenging. The second is not as important as the first, but I'll expand on it here for completeness: I have insomnia.

Insomnia is one of those quantum feelings that can be classified as bless and curse at the same time.

Sometimes you can't sleep and both your body and your brain - which stop being parts of the same whole in this situation - cry out for mercy. They beg for Hypnos, with whatever strength was left, to allow them into his realm. One feels like a sinner, like an outsider, like a pariah, when everyone is allowed into sleeping but oneself. It is saddening and nerve-racking.

But there are other occasions, when brain and body are still playing in the same team, that being unable to sleep makes you feel like Zeus, to whom Hypnos is but a servant. One still thinks of oneself as an outcast, but because one is now superior (I believe Nietzsche came out with the idea of ubermensch after experiencing this "good insomnia" for a few days). It feels like everybody else is just too stupid for wasting one third of this so rare event called life in unconsciousness. The immediate impression is that one can now do everything that is somehow forbidden during the time everyone else is awake. Being a painter, a musician, a writer, a cook or whatever artistic endeavors that are postponed due to "real life", whose main feature is a bunch of awake people doing stuff around, now seems feasible and close.

It is true, however, that just a handful of people can actually fulfill those ambitions while deprived of sleep, but for those capable, the feeling is like the so called runner's high. You are sure you will not succeed, you are just waiting to faint but you keep pushing, until suddenly everything becomes fluid, easy and pleasant. The alchemy of the situation transforms your tiredness into the sheerest energy. Time seems to slow down and everything loses all relevance, except what you are doing. Your conscience is fully attached to the moment and you get surprised by how much goes unnoticed in life when you are fully awake, and by how worthy it is to pay attention.

Eventually, you start to wish it never ends, and you start to think about how to replicate it during your "normal" life, and this is exactly when you lose it. You allow it to escape because your conscience went somewhere else, it diverted from the present time. Anyway, you still feel the calming effects of the exhilaration, and you conclude that sleeping is overrated. However the effects are too calming, and you can't help falling asleep.

Felipe Melo
Felipe Melo
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Felipe Melo

Software Engineer, Writer, Drummer wannabe. One book, one magazine, one blog, three languages.

See all posts by Felipe Melo