in praise of sleep

I’ve just finished At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien. Don’t let the incomprehensible title put you off. It contains vast stores of wisdom:

What is wrong with…most people…is that they do not spend sufficient time in bed.

I find nothing to disagree with in the above.

When a man sleeps, he is steeped and lost in a limp toneless happiness: awake he is restless, tortured by his body and the illusion of existence.

Flippin torturous body.

Why have men spent centuries seeking to overcome the awakened body?

YES. Forget this waste of thinking power, philosophers.

Put it to sleep, that is a better way. Let it serve only to turn the sleeping soul over, to change the blood-stream and thus make possible a deeper and more refined sleep…

In fact, let us all become cats:

cat pandaI admit he looks more like a panda in this photo, but it’s the same principle.

We must invert our conception of repose and activity…We should not sleep to recover the energy expended when awake but rather wake occasionally to defecate the unwanted energy that sleep engenders. This might be done quickly – a five-mile race at full tilt around the town and then back to bed and the kingdom of the shadows.

This epic book has finally convinced me that I would be much, much more productive if I spent the vast majority of my life sleeping. Who’s with me?


Filed under the human condition

18 responses to “in praise of sleep

  1. I would particularly like to sleep through February.

  2. yea sleep is just to important to take casually, unfortunantly the corporate world or world of work doens’t recognize it, it is not profitable to them. in places like japan you work until your drop onto the floor of the bus station and fall asleep. your expected to put others first which translates your needs always come second. what a horrible way to live. you live in a tiny cubicle apartment with little room to have much funriture, which doesn’t matter you never there anyway but for a few hours of sleep you do manage to get. shameful, no wonder suicide rates are so high in japan,china and other places like that. you just get so wore down from inadequate rest and sleep that you figure your only escape is suicide.

    • True – I recently read an article by Ariana Huffington about the importance of sleep for business types. She said she had one week where she was supposed to be on holiday, so was banned from her blackberry during the day, but ended up staying up half the night working and getting very little sleep. At the end of the week she woke up in a pool of her own blood..yikes :s She’d passed out due to exhaustion and hit her head as she fell.

      Moral of the story: sleep ftw

  3. Reblogged this on johnrsermon and commented:
    This is why sleep should be a part of the working day as well as a majority of the night.

  4. I hope you dont mind that i reblogged this wonderful post. But its true! I feel a shell of my normal self when i’m deprived of sleep.the spainish have it sorted with siestas. Thank you

  5. Love it and so agree! Can I also make a pitch for workplaces with nap areas, with this in mind? x

  6. lizzieme

    Absolutely agree πŸ™‚ I feel similarly about solitude: β€œAll of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal. #beinganintrovertisthebest x

  7. Margy Rydzynski

    Ah, sleep!

  8. This cat looks exactly like our cat named “Recess,” and yes, that’s all he does is sleep. My husband and I tease we’d love to come back as a cat and have the “sleeping eating life!” (If we got a great family like us….) I enjoyed your post.

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