Meditation on Sleep
October 11, 2021 8:52 AM   Subscribe

...light sleep and deep sleep, sweaty sleep, frigid sleep, sleep that comes in dozes, sleep that creeps up on you in the middle of a long drive, the sleep of winter, the sleep of spring, the sleep you remember from your childhood that was so much better than any of your adult sleep, couch sleep, bed sleep, sleep that comes the morning, sleep that comes in the afternoon, sleep that comes all of a sudden just when you were settling down to watch a movie, sleep that despite all your efforts to train them, the cats interrupt at 4am...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]

...sleep that's where you're a Viking...
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:12 AM on October 11 [4 favorites]

Loved this piece, thank you for posting.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 10:24 AM on October 11

At the time, seeing the deep sleep of strangers resting collectively on trains felt normal. Inside trains, we sleep. I didn’t realize how this scene would be perceived by others until I saw the surprised reaction of travelers from overseas. Why do Japanese people sleep on trains? Why are they so tired? Sleeping is what we do in a private space, yet why are they sleeping so deeply in such a public place?
One of the most surprising things about living in Taiwan for me, coming from the US was just how safe it felt. If I fell asleep on the subway in NYC (or Caltrain or BART or wherever), I'd feel worried about someone trying to steal my bag or my wallet, whereas that wasn't something that I was worried about at all in Taiwan.

I don't know for sure the exact reasons, but something about being there just felt viscerally safer than being in the US.

From what I hear from friends in Japan, it's similar there — people being robbed or assulted on trains just isn't a thing people are significantly worried about, which I'm sure makes it feel much easier to sleep on the train.

I like the idea of sleep diversity, and moving away from a normative idea of what sleep “should” look like.

Thanks for sharing this, dancing leaves.
posted by wesleyac at 10:39 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]

Sleep as rare, precious commodity
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:39 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]

"Sleep is like a preview of death, but with commercials."
—Some person on Reddit.

Walking down the street, I see many houses with signs posted: “All are welcome here.”

Probably half the houses in my neighborhood have those tall wooden "WELCOME" signs by their door. I continually think, who are all these psychopaths?
posted by jabah at 10:47 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

I liked this. I have also noticed when I'm falling asleep it feels more like something coming up towards me that pulls me down rather than like falling. But I think that's just English for you sometimes, it prefers close-enough reusable constructions to conceptual accuracy. When sleep is coming to get me there's very little I can do about it.
posted by bleep at 2:07 PM on October 11

The Yawn Song, by Dr. Seuss.
posted by hippybear at 6:04 PM on October 11

sleep that catches you is a great phrase. As a kid who got taken to church frequently, I remember being really taken with the hymn On Eagle's Wings, which has imagery about how God will "hold you in the palm of his hand." I'm all about cozy imaginings while falling asleep, and as an elementary schooler, the idea of being held like a sleepy hamster by some benevolent higher being was the best. Then eventually I worked out I didn't believe in God around the same time puberty hit, and started imagining blanket forts and snuggling mostly platonically for warmth with crushes and perfect beach days alone with a book in a hammock, instead. Now sometimes I'll just think long and aimlessly about what my dog looks like when she's maximally comfy. That catches me, too. Nice little piece, thanks for posting.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:35 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]

I knew a guy who spent a lot of time focusing on his lucid dreaming, but he had to quit because he was finding the dream/wake states to be trickier to differentiate. He found it to be a bit terrifying in fact, I imagine in a similar way that makes sleep deprivation such an awful means of torture.. similar way: he described episodes and I can see the allure.

thanks to someone in MeFi posting that Wet Leg song earlier ("Chaise Longue") I am reminded of what it's like to hear a tune with a measure of that unbridled enthusiasm of youth, so I'll just leave off with an old memory of that ("I've Been Tired," Pixies).
posted by elkevelvet at 8:44 AM on October 12

What a great piece of writing - such a lovely combination of personal reflections, observations about society, diverse experiences.

Oddly, one of the bits that caught my eye was this:
I first heard the term “sleep diversity” from Peng Wu, an interdisciplinary artist who creates social practice and participatory opportunities for social change ...
"social practice and participatory opportunities for social change"? I definitely wanted to know more about that.

A quick search found this:

Peng Wu and the Art of Sleep, Weisman Art Museum

and a few articles:
Alumni Spotlight: Peng Wu
a profile in the Star Tribune

I'm so intrigued by the Meditation on Sleep - there's a lot there I would like to share with friends and family who have been mentioning feeling guilty about getting more sleep lately, and yet how much they need that sleep - but I'm also delighted by the serendipity of getting to find out about Peng Wu.

Thank you for posting this, dancing leaves!
posted by kristi at 2:04 PM on October 14

« Older COVID conditions in prisons-- Democrats also...   |   Crews Abandoned on Ships Without Pay, Food or a... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.