“How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping
and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake and talking to one another in the waking state
Those were the words of the great thinker and philosopher, Plato
and he did have a valid point there. And, so, this becomes the catalyst for my post on sleep. Yes, I can already see the smiles on your face while you imagine about your bed and you sleeping on it. Who doesn’t like sleep, right?
According to the National Sleep Foundation
, 8 hours of sleep
whereas another US
study shows that 5-7 hours
is what is needed for a full grown adult and results in longer lives, less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours results in shortening of life span
. So, what does all this translate into?
Imagine the last working day of the week. You’ve toiled very hard at the office, handled a lot of customers and clients all week long, handled your boss even and somehow managed to survive those local as well as regional meetings. The weekend is upon you and finally office finishes and you’re ready to go home. Relief is finally within your reach. You spend a marvelous evening with your loved ones, friends, relatives and colleagues. And it is time to hit the bed because it is 1 a.m. in the night but when you finally get up, you see that it is 2 p.m. in the afternoon next day. More than 12 hours have passed since you went to sleep.
This was a typical situation which I talked of and it even happens during the week as well. What could be the reason for this happening? Why do we sleep and then oversleep? Even after oversleeping
, why do we still feel groggy and tired?
In today’s hectic world, a lot of times this is due to the stress, strain and anxiety which our profession brings us. However, there might be a deeper cause: reality
. Yes, reality can be quite harsh, unyielding and painful at times and when reality starts to get the better of us, we find an alternate escape route from reality.
We escape to a place where things are not so gloomy, where everything is according to our wishes and fancies and where there are no rules almost like a dream state. In fact, it is a dream and that is the time we fall asleep. When things are not going as per our needs and wants, we start daydreaming and dreaming while sleeping and eventually sleeping more. So much so, that oversleeping is actually an indicator of your dissatisfaction with the current status of your life and career. Sleep, then, becomes an excuse to escape reality.
If you were totally satisfied with what you are doing with your life, would you feel like sleeping? Would you feel like oversleeping? Would you feel exhausted after getting up from that sleep? Think about it. Think of all those moments.
You are awaiting the birth of your first child at 3a.m. in the night.
You’re going to become a mother after 9 months of painful wait at 4a.m.
You’re going to meet your best friend and roommate of college days after 6 years.
You are talking with your family member/ friend in a different time zone.
You get the news of your grandparents demise.
You are awaiting the results of the final exams for your degree completion the whole night.
You and your soulmate end up talking nonsense over the entire night.
You’ve been living abroad for past 12 years and can’t wait for the flight to your home country to get over.
When we are happy, ecstatic and elated, sleep or no sleep doesn’t matter. Even if we do go to sleep, we get up in the morning with a smile on our faces. When you are happy with your life, you want to cherish every moment of it, by staying awake. Life is a gift meant to be enjoyed by living each and every moment of it. There will be enough time to sleep once you are in the grave and you have breathed your last. Till then, just keep riding the roller-coaster called life and have no regrets at the end of it.
So, then, how to live life with the definition of being awake? How to sleep?
Let me now bring you to an important equation or relation. If we denote:
the total time of our conscious lives (which we can actually feel through our five senses) by T
the total spent awake by A
the total spent in sleep by S
T = A – S
Now, consider the scenario. Your life is about to end in next 24 hours. So, starting from now, T=24 hours.
What do you want A and S to be? Do you want to make the most of your life and keep A= 24 and S=0
T = 24 – 0 = 24 hours
Or do you want to sleep and make the equation,
T = 0 – 24 = -24 hours which actually means that you didn’t actually live your life.
In the end, I would like to leave you with the words of the great poet, Robert Frost
The woods are lovely dark and deep
but I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep.