One of the scariest phenomenons is mob mentality or group think. Many atrocious crimes and genocides have happened because people gave up their thought and morality to the herd. ‘Because everyone else is doing it’ somehow makes evil or counter intuitive things OK.
Sleep deprivation is one of them
I know you must be thinking my flare for the dramatics is in overdrive, sleep deprivation isn’t that serious..sigh.. they got to you didn’t they?. TRUST NO ONE! Lol..ok now I’m being dramatic.
But the point is that just because something is common doesn’t make it any less serious. Since everyone is sleep deprived, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a part of our culture, topic of conversation and sometimes even a bragging right. Everyone is sicker than they ever were before too.
1 in 4 people have a mental illness. If you and your spouse have 2 kids, one of you will or already has a mental illness. Instead of reaching for prescription drugs you could implement better sleeping habits and naps within your family. It’s really that simple.
Sleep deprivation is so closely linked to mental illness that I can’t believe we barely hear about it! Maybe because taking a pill pumps more money into the economy.
Sleep deprivation isn’t a side effect of being successful or hardworking. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem that is making us sick, less productive and even killing us.
We all know deep down that something’s just not right. We aren’t meant to be this tired and burnt out all the time. The problem lies in the fact that though we are willing to accept that sleep and rest are important for optimal health, we aren’t willing or sometimes able to take the necessary steps to incorporate it into our lives. We’ve all had those moments when our eyes can no longer stay open and our head jerks from side to side as we struggle to stay awake. Instead of listening to the cues our body is sending us, we quickly reach for a coffee to give us the buzz needed to stay awake. The caffeine may be the antidote to drowsiness and help your body feel more awake, but you will not get the nourishment you receive from sleep.
Why are we so reluctant to rest?
Naps VS capitalism
Ever since the advent of industrialism, napping has been demonized. It was presumed that taking a break during the work day would be detrimental to productivity. As a result, those who tried to nap during the day were labelled as immoral and dishonest. Naps are not conducive to the 9 to 5 workweek or modern day capitalist economy. Therefore it was in the best interest of business owners to eliminate the practice of midday rest. Little did they know that denying workers the opportunity to rejuvenate was in fact counterproductive- I’ll get into that in a bit.
Hence the negative connotation with rest was born. Napping is associated with laziness and being unambitious. The thought of being caught napping by ones boss is horrifying- even if it’s during our lunch hour. It’s baffling that such a beneficial practice has been wrongfully stigmatized. Now more than ever, depression, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases are on the rise. Clearly we are doing something wrong. Prioritizing the dollar over our health ironically decreases our earning potential. According to a study conducted by The National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation costs $175 billion!
Have you read the story of ‘the tortoise and the hare’?
What was the moral of the story? Slow and steady …wins the race. That no matter how likely your opponent is at beating you, you still have a chance if you diligently work hard-without taking breaks. The hare is obviously faster than the tortoise but he doesn’t win the race because he NAPS. Morals such as this and sayings like ‘you snooze you lose’ are constantly teaching us to associate naps and rest with being lazy or unsuccessful.
We have this notion that burning the midnight oil or the candle from both sides is somehow honourable or praise worthy. We often brag about how little sleep we got last night as a testament to how hard working we are. We have glorified exhaustion and over working ourselves.
When we sleep, we sleep wrong
Unfortunately the more advanced a society becomes, the farther it strays from the ideal sleep practice. Humans are the only mammals that practice monophasic sleep (sleeping consecutively for a few hours once in twenty four hours). All other mammals sleep in increments throughout the day (polyphasic sleep).In fact, monophasic sleep is a recent phenomenon, a by-product of the twentieth centuries workaholic lifestyle. Historically, most societies were biphasic sleepers, they would sleep consecutively for a few hours at night and then have a nap in the midday (i.e. Siesta and Qailul).
For the greater good of the economy, overnight shifts were introduced which drastically altered traditional sleep patterns. As the nature of work shifted from muscle labour to cerebral labour, more employees brought their work home and the lines between work and home began to blur.
Electricity, artificial light , working 9-5 and our frenemy Caffeine, all push us away from our natural sleep patterns. Those who wake and sleep with the rising and setting of the sun are highly productive because their sleep patterns are congruent with their natural circadian rhythm.
Sleep Deprivation kills
Most people think sleep deprivation is dark circles, head aches and crankiness which can be fixed with coffee. Perhaps once again the prevalence of this problem minimizes its dangers. Little do people know sleep deprivation has serious consequences that eventually lead to neurodegenerative diseases and even death. Heart disease, Diabetes, Mental Illness ,Obesity and even genetic changes are a few potential side effects of chronically skipping on sleep. Disasters such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, The Space Shuttle Challenger, The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and American Airlines Flight 1420 Crash are only a few examples of what can happen when we are sleep deprived. In the US alone, sleepy drivers are responsible for 1,550 deaths and 71, 000 injuries every year. . Severe mental illnesses always has sleep disruption associated with it. Schizophrenics and those suffering from Bi-Polar disease show patterns of irregular and minimal sleep years before being diagnosed.On the other hand, when you sleep your body performs muscle repair, consolidates your memory and releases hormones which regulate your growth and appetite. Sleep is vital for your immune system, cognitive function and productivity.
So what are you going to do about it?
When most of us hear health related information that contradicts ts our current practices we often weakly say ‘I really should take care of my health better’. And it ends there.Until we are faced with a major health crisis, most of us have a very reactive and passive approach to self care.
As I’ve mentioned before, your body is a trust from Allah; you must take care of it.
Why wait until you’re sick?
Stop reading this post and take a nap!