Now that got your attention didn’t it, you dirty person, you! Anyway, last night I had trouble sleeping. In fact, I doubt whether I slept at all. I spent the dark night frantically tossing and turning, stretching my restless legs and punching my pillow in tired frustration. In dire consequence, I have had some serious trouble functioning as a sane human being on this gloomy Monday. My sentences are coming out elephant and I cannot remember the simplest of things, for example whether one is expected to condition or shampoo first. For those who are concerned about my operating heavy machinery today, I absolutely promise not too.
Naturally, I turned straight to Dr Google in hope that he might help me to self-diagnose my poor self as an insomniac. Whilst neither he nor I were successfully able to make any such diagnosis, we learnt many other interesting things about the complex art of sleeping. Despite my sleepless, zombie state, I feel it my duty to share with you, my most loyal of readers, some interesting facts about what really goes on beneath the bed sheets. (And by that I mean sleeping, not fucking. Sorry to disappoint.) After all, by the time we die, most of us will have spent a quarter of a century sleeping.
Did you know that seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance that is equivalent to a blood alcohol reading of 0.05%? Neither did I. And thank goodness for that! I was beginning to question whether I was in fact drunk most of the time, not just tired. In fact, rumour has it that the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been linked to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role. Yikes. Speaking of drunken behaviour, scientists have discovered that a night on the grog (trust scientists to use such an uncool word) will help you to fall asleep, “though it will only be a light slumber”. Well scientists, I may have to start drinking grog more regularly because “light slumber” is more than I’m getting (sleep that is, not dick). Here’s another alcohol related fact for you; after five nights of partial sleep deprivation (i.e. a bender), three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six would when you’ve slept fittingly. Therefore, depriving oneself of sleep from Monday through to Friday may in fact be a clever means of saving money spent on alcohol each weekend. You’re welcome!
Dr Google and I came across a great number of dream related facts, too. Apparently, the average person has between four and seven individual dreams per night. In fact, it is possible that there may not be a single moment during sleep in which we aren’t dreaming. Now that’s cool! There is a West African group called the Ashanti who take dreams so seriously that they allow a husband to take legal action against another man if that man admits to having had an erotic dream about his wife. Not so cool. In ancient Greece, dreams were regarded as both messages from the Gods and omens of the future. Nightmares, on the other hand, were thought to be sent from menacing spirits, such as witches. If you suffer from nightmares, the ancient Greeks suggest placing a knife under the foot of your bed. This may be useful in modern day too, what with all our robbers and murderers and rapists and what not (of which we really shouldn’t joke). Numerous philosophers believe that the ongoing activity of the mind in dreams while the body is motionless proves that the soul is independent of the body and, thus, immortal. So, I guess that makes us superheroes! This just keeps getting cooler!
And here’s the most interesting thing Dr Google taught me about sleep: apparently, when we can’t sleep at night, it’s because we’re awake in somebody else’s dream. Right here and now, I’d like the person who’s dreaming about me night after night to please stop. You may enjoy my presence in your dreams (just out of curiosity – am I any good?) but I would much prefer to sleep. Please, and thank-you.
So good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.