Last week, I went to bed early in hopes of getting some extra sleep. The next couple of days were going to be long and busy. I wanted to be as rested as possible in anticipation. Any over-worked college student who ever tried to do this in anticipation of an exam probably knows where I’m going with this.
My hopes were quickly dashed because I ended up lying in bed for several hours, tossing and turning, trying to will myself to sleep. I was tired and usually I’m pretty good at falling asleep when I need to, but not on this night. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get the rest I wanted.
It was frustrating, but easily resolved the next day with more coffee. However, in recalling that frustration, I found myself thinking back to all the other nights where I just lay there in bed, trying to sleep and failing miserably. It led me to one inescapable conclusion. That’s a lot of wasted time that I could’ve used to do something else.
With that time, I could’ve written dozens of more sexy novels. For all I know, one of them might have been a masterpiece and a best seller. Sure, it’s more likely that most of them would either be average or crap, but the fact is I still would’ve written them.
With that time, I also could’ve read more books written more content for this blog, or worked out more. How much healthier or more well-read would I be? Sure, a lot of those books might have been comics, but I’ve shown before that comics can provide some pretty uncanny insights.
With that time, I could’ve just done more of the mundane stuff that gives me joy. I could’ve played more video games, danced to terrible pop music, or binged-watched more of the shows that my friends and family keep recommending.
My point is that I’ve wasted a lot of time in bed, failing to fall asleep. I doubt I’m alone either. How many others out there struggle to fall asleep at night? Seeing as how the market for sleeping pills is around $58 billion, I imagine it’s more than a few.
I’m not saying sleep is a waste of time. There’s a biological need associated with sleep. Like food, not getting enough of it will actually kill you in the long run. That puts sleep just above sex in terms of the needs hierarchy, albeit not by much. While the need for sleep is somewhat of a mystery, we know we have to do it. We just don’t realize how much of it consumes our lives.
As it stands, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. That means every day we’re alive, we’re stuck only living part of it. That’s a lot of time that we end up losing. That leads me to a simple, but colorful thought experiment. What if we could get that time back? What if we, as a whole, didn’t have to sleep or only needed a little to be refreshed?
This isn’t one of my overly sexy or overly disturbing thought experiments. This is basically akin to wondering what it would be like to have superpowers, something most people do on a daily basis when they’re stuck in traffic. Not sleeping may not be as impressive as flying like Superman, but it would incur an undeniable impact on our lives and our society.
Some of it might be good. Some of it might be bad. Some of it might be downright mundane. For certain people, not sleeping just means more time sitting on the couch watching “Star Trek” re-runs. Whatever the case, it has many possibilities for better, for worse, and everything in between.
As much as I enjoy sleeping naked, I would prefer to have more time and energy to do more things. I might even end up doing those things naked anyways so it wouldn’t be too much of a loss. Sure, that might cause some legal issues, but I’m willing to make that trade-off.
There are a lot of things I’d like to do, try, or explore. The problem is often a confluence of time, energy, and focus. I don’t always have enough of all three and sometimes one overcompensates for the other. The need to sleep is the only factor that ties into all them.
I get that there are some who genuinely enjoy sleep. I admit it’s a great feeling, waking up on a Saturday morning, feeling rested and refreshed. However, is it really worth all that time we miss? Who’s to say that what we do with that extra time won’t be just as rewarding? Like I said, there are trade-offs.
I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t have to sleep so much, but I like to think I’d be able to do more and be better. What about you, the wonderful readers of this humble, yet sexy website? What would you do if you had an extra eight hours of life every day? Would you be more productive? Would you be happier? Would you succumb faster to the looming plague of boredom?
It’s a non-disturbing, non-sexual thought experiment that I encourage everyone to try it and share your thoughts in the comments. We’re all the mercy of our need to sleep to some extent. It’s interesting to imagine what our lives would be like or what kind of person we’d become if we had more time to work with.