Three ingredients for a life well lived:
We mostly ignore the third; as if our bodies are just there to carry our minds around; as if we’ll live forever. But sleep is the foundation on which the possibilities of waking life are built.
If we were to get real for a moment about the finite nature of our lives, we’d probably take more care. We’d remember what our tiredness has had us forget: that we’re not machines to be run into the ground, but vibrant living beings. And we’d live with this in mind more consciously and more responsibly.
Instead of sleep-walking through our days, clinging on as tight as we can, perhaps we’d open to the creativity, attention and wonder possible in even the most ordinary of activities. It might even allow us to wake up enough to turn our lives into works of art.
A sleep-deprived society or organisation can barely hope to address the challenges it faces. And a sleep-deprived person can barely hope to live a full life.
Maybe it’s time to find out that if you lie down for a while, the world keeps on turning.
[see data from the National Sleep Foundation, which found adults need 7-9 hours sleep per night to stay healthy and alert enough to engage fully with the world]