August 16, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Whenever, wherever, however they can, folks around the world gotta cop a few Zs.

The first eight photographs were taken by Romain Philippon, who is publishing a book of them, Inconscience ("Unconsciousness").

Bonus: Five ways lack of sleep can kill you.
posted by Halloween Jack (46 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
One of the best naps I ever had was on top of a pile of bags of (dry-cleaned) towels and tablecloths in the clubhouse of the golf course I worked at. I sat down for what I thought was going to be a couple of minutes and next thing I knew it was two hours later. When I left the room I was all *exaggeratedly nonchalant walking and whistling* but no-one seemed to have noticed my absence.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Can't sleep, that's when the Strangers come and try to find my soul.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Huh? What? No, no. I was just resting my eyes.
posted by The Bellman at 2:04 PM on August 16, 2011

Grrr - I am fighting the results of chinese buffet for lunch and am wanting to go home and sleep and you have to post this? (Heck, I've been thinking of heading out to the parking lot to sleep... only another 25 minutes, only another 25 minutes, only another 25 minutes to go....)
posted by jkaczor at 2:06 PM on August 16, 2011

It's great to have a lockable room at work that no one else has a key for.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2011

posted by darksasami at 2:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

I think I may have told this at some point on Metafilter, but the funniest thing I saw on my first visit to Spain was during siesta in a tiny town down on the Mediterranean. A guy driving a medium sized trust was parked sideways across the road, blocking the entire narrow street, and passed out on the steering wheel. It was like his watch beeped to let him know it was siesta-time and he just pulled the e-brake and fell forwards.
posted by mannequito at 2:23 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

*truck, not trust
posted by mannequito at 2:24 PM on August 16, 2011

[Sleep] in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't [slept there] before
Now [sleep] in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven't [slept there] before

posted by blue_beetle at 2:26 PM on August 16, 2011

One of my favorite things is napping on the couch in the afternoon with the windows open and a fan going when it's warm out but not quite hot. I just had a great little snooze.
posted by ghharr at 2:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

My personal nightmare: a case of the nods.

It sometimes happens if for some reason I'm exceedingly overtired (~2 hours sleep) and needing to sit still for long periods of time. Murphy's law, that usually means during meetings. I'm talking about finding my head inexplicably slumped down and being suddenly aware that time has skipped forward. This is followed by alarm and an irresistible urge to jerk my head back upwards. I've seen other people do this and I know how obvious it is. Then comes the horrible awareness that adrenaline will not save me -- it will happen again.

Don't panic. Control the head-jerk reflex and keep your head down. Pretend you were taking notes.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Did anybody else yawn while they were looking at these?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:34 PM on August 16, 2011

Man, I need a nap.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:34 PM on August 16, 2011

It's interesting that the list of five ways lack of sleep can kill you doesn't include, well, lack of sleep. Although we only know bits and pieces of why sleep may be necessary, we do know that prolonged lack of sleep will kill you surprisingly quickly. I believe it's faster even than dehydration. First hallucinations, then, just... death.
posted by gilrain at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2011

> My personal nightmare: a case of the nods.

I did that during a meeting at my old job. I was sitting in a really high-backed office chair on wheels around a conference table, doing the head-nod thing, and started to lean back in my chair as I fell asleep. The chair had a really high centre of gravity and it felt like I was going to fall over backwards, so the adrenaline surged and I pitched forward - fast - and waved my arms around in an attempt to grab the table. Everyone at the table turned around and looked at me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Only time I've ever fallen asleep on the job or anywhere outside of bed was when I had a job with a law firm sorting depositions. I was in this interior room with no windows, just me, and I laid down just for a minute, and fell asleep for probably two hours. As far as I know, no one else knew about it, why would they check on deposition dude?
posted by maxwelton at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2011

I don't generally fall asleep very easily so it's rare that I ever nod off in a public place, but once I was working night shifts at a factory (yeah it sucked) and went on my final break at 5am. I was sitting in the soul-sucking break room, thought I blinked, except the middle-aged Ukrainian lady sitting eating across from me turned into a small Asian man doing a crossword puzzle, and the clock over his shoulder went from 5:20 to 7:30.

I went back to my station and nobody had even noticed I was gone, which was the start of my traditional one-hour car naps.
posted by mannequito at 2:45 PM on August 16, 2011

Actually, I take that back. I thought that was a scientific fact I knew, but googling in support of may claim leads me to believe it's conjecture at best. It may be impossible to determine, since microsleep is almost impossible to prevent after a certain point.
posted by gilrain at 2:45 PM on August 16, 2011

I was working a miserable temp job one summer (12 hour shifts, 7 days a week on my feet) A coworker comes back from the bathroom and asks me if I notices how long he was gone. Apparently, he thought that the little carpeted section under the sink in the men's bathroom was a great place to "just lay down for a minute..." Looking at his productivity numbers later, our guess was that he was out for about 45 minutes.
posted by Jacob G at 2:49 PM on August 16, 2011

Can't sleep. Dream Police are looking for me.
posted by Splunge at 2:56 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best sleep of my life was when I moved to the LA area ten years ago. I had pretty much nothing but four outfits and a blanket. I slept on the carpet in my apartment in Santa Clarita using the blanket as a pillow and got sooooo much gooood sleep.

Once I fell asleep at an intersection. That was scary.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:17 PM on August 16, 2011

I used to work double shifts waiting tables at a restaurant that had comfy booths, dim lighting, and fabulous seafood bisque. I'd close the lunch shift, set up for dinner, and then have about an hour and a half of idleness. Amid dim lights, comfy booths, and with easy access to a warm bowl of cream....zzzzzzz.

Many is the night that the first guests were puzzled to see a yawning guy in a rumpled tux shirt pop up from what had looked like an empty booth and stumble over to the coffee station.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:28 PM on August 16, 2011

Since we are talking about work and sleep:

The summer I was 19, I was working in a steel mill. When the long coils of steel were being run through the various lines (to galvanize them or whatever that line was for) they would run around giant rolls: think something like a steel rolling pin, but three or four metres long and weighing a tonne or more. The rolls would get get worn smooth and have to be blasted with shot (like steel gravel) in this device the size of a garage to restore the proper texture on their surfaces. Operating this device with another guy is what I did that summer.

When the rolls came out, we had to wipe them down to get the excess shot off them. To this end we had a giant box of rags. These rags came from the Salvation Army or someplace, and had been produced from unsaleable clothing: each rag was half a shirt or a chunk of a pair of jeans or something. They had all been laundered before they arrived and were quite clean and soft.

One night shift I was working with my colleague, Dennis. Dennis was kind of a slacker, and tended to do the exact minimum amount of work needed to avoid trouble (a man after my own heart, really). The earlier part of our shift was kind of slow, so around 2:00 AM he announced he was going to sack out for a bit in the box of rags. No problem, sez I -- the workload was light enough that light that I could do it on my own. Dennis climbed in and closed the lid so he would not be spotted by the foreman.

Come 4:00 or 4:30, though, things had started to pick up. I went over to the box and tried to get him up, but every time I did, he waved me off and went back to sleep. I worked alone like mad and during a free moment around 5:45 or so, went over to check he was still snoozing. He was, so I grabbed an armful of rags carefully so as not to disturb him, closed the lid, and then piled six or seven fifty-pound bags of shot on top of the box.

At some point he woke up, I am sure, but the ambient noise level in the place was so high that no one would ever hear him shouting or banging. At 7:00 AM, the day shift came in and I told my relief that I had left a bunch of rags just over there for their use. It was apparently about three or four hours before those guys had occasion to open up the box and find a very pissed-off Dennis climbing out of it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]

My favorite book to read to my kids when they were little was "Napping House". There was a house, a napping house, where EVERYONE was sleeping... I trained my kids from the get go that on weekends, Pops was taking an afternoon nap and so should they. There is nothing like that 3:00pm to 4:17pm nap on a cool sunny Saturday fall afternoon. I have also mastered the art of napping during football games and baseball games on TV. I would hit the pause on my TiVo and after a half an hour, it would start up again with the sound booming and bam awake I would be.

Finally, the best nap I ever had was at an Elton John concert at Madison Square Garden after eating a gram of mushrooms on the train on the way into the Garden. I don't recall why, but we were in a luxury box and so far away from Elton that I was bored and fell asleep. The dreams I had were so vivid and terrific.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:41 PM on August 16, 2011

Okay, I thought this was serious at first, but by the time I got to the police line I figured out this is just stunt sleeping (the next planking?).
posted by pwnguin at 3:43 PM on August 16, 2011

Oh man, do I have sleep stories.

When I was very young, 8 or so, I used to have difficulty sleeping. I read a Reader's Digest article on sleep meditation, so I started doing it. Took about an hour and a half the first time. Almost forty years later, I can fall asleep in under a minute.

When I was about 13 working on a farm in Texas, I slept in the afternoons under a truck, on a sheet of cardboard in about an inch of dust. It was the only shade.

Driving back to college from a hard weekend in Dallas, I woke up in the middle of nowhere...going sixty miles an hour down an off ramp, one of those inexplicable ones they have on IH45 in the middle of nowhere. There was a 7-11 at the bottom of this off ramp - a 32 oz. coffee, and I was wide awake the rest of the way. I swear that was a miracle.

In college, I would stake out an empty classroom and sleep on the floor between classes. I had to hide, we were not permitted to sleep in public in uniform, so I would arrange desks to make a screen. A couple of times I surprised people who came in early for the next class, when I would emerge from nowhere.

Commuting in Los Angeles, I used to get sleepy with the sun in my eyes - so I had a couple of spots staked out where I could pull over and safely nap for a half hour. I learned my lesson twenty years earlier, on that trip home from Dallas. If I am at all sleepy, I won't drive. The thing is, you don't realize you are going to sleep until you wake up.

After my first child was born, my wife needed to take a shower. She gently laid our daughter in the middle of the bed, and I laid down next to her. The next thing I know, my wife was screaming at me for being such an asshole, etc etc - my daughter had been screaming bloody murder, crying for at least five minutes, and I didn't even hear.

At work, I sleep under our layout tables. Pull out a set of blueprints and hang them over the edge of the table, makes a cozy little cubby. There's a couch on the patio, and sometimes I'll nap in the afternoon, in the sun.

If you didn't guess, I am a big believer in naps.
posted by Xoebe at 4:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

I never sleep, cuz sleep is the cousin of death
posted by Hoopo at 4:09 PM on August 16, 2011

I never sleep, cuz sleep is the cousin of death

Older sister, actually.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:18 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

But orgasms are la petit mort!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:26 PM on August 16, 2011

This is good, but a couple of photos of college students asleep in class would have made it better!

May be someone should start a tumblr on that. Fuckyeahasleepinclassroom?
posted by vidur at 4:31 PM on August 16, 2011

Sleep is the name of the drug I took
Sleep and nothing more
Sleep is my tower of Babel
Sleep is my Utopia
Sleep is the place I feel safest in
Wrapped up in a cotton cocoon
In a topographical ocean
On the dark side of the moon

And the world is upside down
But my mind is turning on
Milk is spilling from a murdered sun
I see masturbating monks on 42nd Street
Rats carry the plague to Chinatown
Cathedrals in the well of an elevator shaft
The water towers so many onion domes
The channel 12 commercials all star Joan of Arc
On Broadway a lamb is lying down
Where have they gone, the snows of Villon?
They are falling on Manhattan as rain

posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, for reason Guys I Like and disorders go hand in hand, just reciting from memory from first BF onward

Insomnia, Sleepwalking, some general Parasomnias including one sleep-boxer, nightmares, and chronic insomnia.
posted by The Whelk at 4:50 PM on August 16, 2011

I myself once fell asleep on my feet at the NYC Comic Con and apparently sold three books while completely under with no memory whatsoever.
posted by The Whelk at 4:51 PM on August 16, 2011

(and I can Lucid dream pretty much on command as a way to deal with my nightmares and have had several arguments within the dream with other characters trying to convince them not to be scared cause this is clearly unreality)
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thank you for sharing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:09 PM on August 16, 2011

Medical residents (like I was until two months ago) have a special relationship to sleep. One doesn't know how deep is the need for something so basic until one has to go without it on a regular basis.

We had a call room—a dingy, overwarm cell deep in the building interior—complete with a cot and a PC on a low desk too small to accommodate anything but your pager. One could feel every individual mattress-spring. The plastic-coated hypoallergenic pillow was too thin if you had six of them. And the hospital blankets were glorified towels. The PC had a variable fan on it and liked to supercharge at odd times even though it wasn't running anything different.

One time, at 02:30, the fire alarm went off. After two minutes, the audible alarm went silent, but the flashing light in the room continued flashing for twenty minutes. Two pillows and a blanket over my head were not enough to block out that light.

One could lie in the dark, tired to his core, and instead of sleeping be absolutely racked with anxiety about the pager going off. The pager had eight different ringtones. After four years of residency, none of the rings could fail to elicit a memory of some horrible sleepless night.

You worked a standard day until about 16:30, at which time the rest of the crew went home and you were the official representative in-house. Occasionally, I would finish all my daytime work a little early. I'd go to the dingy little cell and nap—or at least lie quietly with my eyes closed—until showtime. This little trick prevented the profoundest exhaustion late at night, though one still got pretty tired.

After coming home and pulling the curtains (also silencing the pager, the cellphone, and the doorbell), to sleep a good eight or nine hours with filtered yellow curtain-light on your eyelids, and the air with a certain afternoon staleness, was the best. But then, waking, one realized that in about three or four more hours it would be time to go to bed again, and then back to work.

As certain authorities have put restrictions on the hours a resident can work over the years, some (especially old-school types) have reacted by calling the changes excessive. One of the arguments is that a resident can't learn without being on-call overnight. I don't know the data well enough to argue. But over four years I don't particularly recall many of those nights very well. I'm not sure what I was learning during the times I can't remember.
posted by adoarns at 5:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

I've been in the hospital, for various reasons, in the wee hours of the morning. I never noticed that the resident dealing with me was in any way tired. Knowing what I know now. And after reading adoarns' post. I just want to say thanks for what you folks do. It's honestly amazing to me. Rock on residents, rock on.
posted by Splunge at 5:51 PM on August 16, 2011

Those pictures are a constant worry of mine. I get my best sleep in public, after a long childhood of being on the road constantly. Even now, there are times when I'll wander over somewhere with reasonable foot traffic and have a nice deep nap sitting in the corner. Since I'm fairly respectable looking, I generally don't get bothered by anyone trying to move me along. But I do worry that someday I'll come across a picture someone's taken of me peacefully sleeping. I really don't want to be part of someone's sleeping in public photo essay, but the lure of peaceful sleep is just too powerful...
posted by stoneweaver at 5:57 PM on August 16, 2011

I better get me some Z's
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:59 PM on August 16, 2011

Homunculus, I like that article in that it shows the problem to be more complex than thought, but am somewhat frustrated by at least two docs I know going SEE WE DON'T REALLY NEED SLEEP IT'S SAFE TO LET US WORK SLEEP-DEPRIVED YOU GUYS as a result. I don't want a sleep-deprived doctor cutting into me in the operating room any more than a sleep-deprived truck driver behind me on the highway. Doctors are not a special class of human, and all the studies I've heard of show errors go up with sleep deprivation. Something's not adding up.

But that's a derail, though it might be a good FPP if it hasn't been done already.
posted by emjaybee at 8:35 PM on August 16, 2011

So...the dude on the bus sleeping standing up. I saw this a lot in Japan on the train, too. How do you do that?
posted by Hoopo at 9:21 PM on August 16, 2011

But that's a derail, though it might be a good FPP if it hasn't been done already.

I think you're right. Done.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on August 16, 2011

Dennis climbed in and closed the lid so he would not be spotted by the foreman.

Am I the only one who was worried that this story was going to end with one of the participants being blasted with shot (like steel gravel) in a device the size of a garage to restore the proper texture on his surface?
posted by primer_dimer at 4:39 AM on August 17, 2011

You woke me up for THIS???
posted by orme at 6:28 AM on August 17, 2011

Everybody Sleeps.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:54 AM on August 17, 2011

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