As a recent graduate of college, I can empathize with the countless overworked Americans out there who get too little sleep. I won't miss the college all-nighters -- trying to write a ten-page paper, or study for an exam all in one night. Yet, for as ubiquitous as the all nighter experience seems to be on college campuses, I only actually pulled one a handful of times. Moreover, staying up all night didn't really do that much to assist me in accomplishing whatever my academic goal was. Staying up all night didn't necessarily guarantee I wrote a better paper or was more prepared for a test. All in all -- it just made me cranky.
I've always loved sleep. It's always been a part of my day I look forward to. Now that I'm a yoga teacher, I realize the holistic benefits that sleep contributes to our overall well being. Just as we need to slow down, breathe, and bring ourselves into the present moment when we're awake, we also need to reassess how we approach our time of rest.
It was this appreciation for my favorite night time ritual that brought me to Arianna Huffington's latest book, "The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time." I listened to a podcast interview Huffington did with Ezra Klein of Vox, and the way she discussed working hard, being exhausted, but ultimately coming to understand how sleep was non negotiable, made me not only want to read this book but blog my way through it!
So, here I am. I'm going to be posting regular blogs here on HuffPost and my website N2Writes on my reactions to this important book. The insights, stories, and inspirational fodder that will come from being in dialogue with this book will produce what I hope will be something valuable to a wider audience. Yet, even if it doesn't -- I'm excited to go through this reflective endeavor, regardless.
In her introduction, Huffington asks some fundamental questions about why we burn out and don't value sleep. She points out that Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot described that process of getting overworked as "civilization's disease." Our civilization certainly does have a way of turning us into robots hardwired to work till we drop. Huffington writes:
"The delusion persists that we can do our jobs just as well on four or five or six hours of sleep as we can on seven or eight. It's a delusion that affects not only our personal health but our productivity and decision making."
This introduction establishes that there is a real problem in our society of not valuing sleep as something important. And that complacency has dangerous consequences. I've seen evidence of this problem all too often with young people like myself at universities or just entering the workforce. They feel compelled to have their laptops on 24/7. To respond to emails at 11pm. To never turn off their brain, and just decompress. I find this trend deeply disturbing. That's why I'm excited to read on in Huffington's book.
Till then, feel free to send me a tweet or leave a comment below on what your experience with sleep is like. Sweet dreams!