Rights for the Sleepy

I cannot think of anything – excluding such necessities as air, food and water – as vital to a worthwhile day as sleep.

When I have had less than six hours’ kip things start to go wrong in a subtle but definite way – like in most David Lynch films. I get itchy and my senses become blurred; socially I become mildly hysterical and paranoid. It’s terrible: I’m like a jumpy but outgoing mole.

Social occasions and work opportunities become Hunter S. Thompson-like forays into the incomprehensible. All I can do is pray that there will be a bed soon and that, in the mean time, I will be able to contain the bizarre sensations that run amok in my mind and body. It is an affliction, yet unlike tuberculosis and swine flu, you can’t skip out on responsibilities citing sleep deprivation. I should know. I tried it at a local paper.

Whilst doing work experience there, I told one of the two blurry chief reporters, about my need for sleep. Deep sarcasm and raised eyebrows were my response but I had another job in the evening and had to go. The next day I received an email telling me not to come back.

This development did make it easier to get my fill of sleep on Wednesdays but was otherwise like a kick to the groin (painful for girls as well).

I am not – as my conduct may suggest –  blind to the impracticalities of prioritising sleep above the The Working Day but there’s got to be a way to recognise the importance of both. Maybe sleep pods in every office or an energy monitor who delegates work according to who’s the perkiest at any given point.

To paraphrase Ghanian novelist, Nii Parkes, after a good night’s sleep I am strong, after a poor night’s sleep I am weak. Who wants a weakling working on a task when in a few hours’ time the former weakling could be ready to tear apart what’s in front of them with the zeal of a lion devouring an antelope?

One could put forward the view  that organised people don’t struggle with the basic that is a good night’s sleep but if one has a full and spontaneous life, or indeed a chaotic and disruptive life, then events invade from both morning and night. Surely in this age where no one discriminates against anyone – and if they do you can sue – we should afford spontaneous and disrupted individuals the right to both sleep and work.

There is, of course, the image of hard working executives, knocking back coffee and cocaine and anything to keep the brain ticking over but in addition to being pro-minorities our society is increasingly pro-health and you don’t have to be the bloke that fired Professor Nutt to figure out that cocaine and coffee isn’t the best fuel for industry.

If a diabetic faints, you give them a sugary snack, if someone’s dehydrated, you give them water, we must think about how to provide for the sleep-deprived in order to create a sophisticated society where we get the best out of everyone, regardless of the hours they keep.

Good night.

Image by Annie Mole courtesy of Flickr

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