Saturday, December 8, 2012
Sleep: Another Offering to Mammon
My mom didn't need any scientific study to know that a good night's sleep was essential to my health and well being. Regular sleep patterns are natural for humans. Why not go to bed with the darkness and wake with the light? Don't you feel better after a good night's sleep? More alert, more energetic? You catch fewer colds when you get regular sleep. You do better on tests.
But Americans are getting less sleep than ever and a majority say they don't get the sleep they know they need. An active social life and work demands reduce available sleep time. The 24-7 world in which we live is constantly stimulating, ever-present stress encourages sleep-impacting drug use (for example alcohol and coffee), and always-on electric lights create irregular sleep patterns. The alarm clock wakes us before we're ready. The TV special lures us to stay up late.
The demands of the marketplace society never end: Wake up and produce! Get going and consume! There's no time for a social life in between those demands, so we take our social time out of our sleep time and we shop and work and watch screens when we could be eating, or relaxing, or lovemaking, or music playing, or running around chasing a ball with the family dog.
The demands of the marketplace society never end: The Fiscal Times reports that sleeplessness is a 32.4 billion dollar business. They've got us coming and going.
Sleep. One more sacrifice at the altar of Mammon.