left biblioblography: TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO DREAM

Saturday, March 25, 2006


This caught my eye today: (coupled with a recent post):

Sleep Deprivation: The Great American Myth

“People who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep. —From a six-year study of more than a million adults.

“Many Americans are sleep-deprived zombies, and a quarter of us now use some form of sleeping pill or aid at night.
“Wake up, says psychiatry professor Daniel Kripke of the University of California, San Diego. The pill-taking is real but the refrain that Americans are sleep deprived originates largely from people funded by the drug industry or with financial interests in sleep research clinics. “
Having been a textbook insomniac (until recently, that is), this is of particular interest to me. Mostly due to my overactive cortex.
I’ve walked down this road many times. Tried everything, from cough syrup (yechh!) to melatonin. Most sleep aids induce what is known as a ‘false sleep pattern’: basically, it induces a pattern on the ingester.
I don’t use any of this nonsense any more, I’m proud to say. Melatonin is actually one of the better aids on the market, as it’s more natural (read: hormonal in nature), but it’s best used as an antidote to jet lag (from what I’ve read).
Mostly, it’s a combination of a very physical job, a very physical work-out, eating right, and cutting out the coffee in the afternoon. Old Garfield strip: “Now for a hot cup of java”, “Now for a good night’s sleep”, “Now for a bout of insomnia”.
Not to mention, that sleep is a necessary ingredient to peace of mind. The mind’s method of cleaning out the excess garbage of the day’s toil.
TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) holds that oversleep is the sign of a corrupted spirit. I don’t know about spirit: but it’s hard to argue with that sluggishness one feels going past nine hours.
And the old adage goes like so:
Confucius and some students were walking past a graveyard. One of the students whines, “Can we rest, master?” To which, Confucius points to the graveyard, and says, “Plenty of time for that later.”
There’s a lot to this subject. In adulthood, sleep is something we need to sacrifice on occasion. There’s also that remnant from childhood: it’s a treat to stay up late. Most of that due to the fact the child (and most adults) are afraid they’re going to miss something of portent. We also have those idiotic commercials (“Who needs sleep?”), as if sleep itself contributes loss of opportunity.
There are those cultures, which postulate that one’s dream life is as important as the waking life. I couldn’t agree more.

In short: rest up. Just don’t rest TOO much.

“For in this sleep of death, what dreams may come.”

And that, dear readers, is my nickel’s worth. Go ahead and sleep on that. Get back to me in the morning.

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Anonymous said...

ACH! I'm certain that if I only slept 6-7 hours a night, I'd have the same death rate as if I slept 12 hours a night! Hee. -_-

But yes, I've heard this before. It's not the number of hours that's as important to me as the quality of sleep.
I don't get restful sleep, or continuous sleep. It's better with the dreaded meds though.
Without them, I may as well be "playing solitaire till dawn, with a deck of fifty-one..."

Good for you, RA, for being able to sleep naturally.
and au natural, if it suits you!

"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come!" It's no secret, I wouldn't mind finding out. That line has haunted me since I first learned it as a teen. Heh. Boy will I ever be surprised if there are dreams at all!

Anonymous said...

That was me, karen.
You may know, but just in case.

Krystalline Apostate said...

It's not the number of hours that's as important to me as the quality of sleep.
Ramen to that!
I'd've guessed as much.
I wonder about Lindsay Wagner, on all those mattress commercials. "What, is she narcoleptic, or something?" She's not aged well, it seems.
That line has haunted me since I first learned it as a teen.
Always been fond of ole Bill, I have.

udonman said...


ah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh sorry dozed off for a second there as i read this i will only have had 3 hours of continous sleep in 24 hours i need the meds although when i get home after work i will sleep and i will dream and i wont give a whatsit about sleeping to much

Krystalline Apostate said...

Pretty funny, my friend. Am I boring you?
Get some rest, seriously.
Lack of it shortens the life. & we have only one.

udonman said...

no you arent boring me i went out to central to do a sandhill crane count and to help bandsong birds at crane meadows nothing like reaching in to a fine mist net to pull out a pissed off goldfinch
just to put him in a bag and put a metal band around his leg

Krystalline Apostate said...

I was just playin', sahr.
That's wonderful. You're a good man, don't care what anyone says aboutcha. ;)

udonman said...

sorry that shouldve been central nebraska reluctant

and iam a good man well somtimes i suprise even my self

Krystalline Apostate said...

and iam a good man well somtimes i suprise even my self
Well, no surprises for me. I knew yer heart were in the right place.

Stardust1954 said...

I am one of those people who hate to sleep. I wish I could stay awake 24-7. I have lots I like to do and not enough hours in a day! But I do know that getting enough rest is really important, especially when getting to be my age. (51-yikes!)

Krystalline Apostate said...

I am one of those people who hate to sleep.
Aye, it's unfortunate that there aren't any jobs where one wakes up after 8 hrs sleep, & gets paid for it, ey?