Death by lack of sleep

An intern recently died at the Bank of America for working 3 straight days, just a few minutes earlier I had finished my comments on the this ted talk on the importance of sleep.  It made me so sad.  Today I am leaving a comment about this sleep issue and realize most of this article’s comments are somewhat sarcastic that this guy died from a lack of sleep. I don’t blame the commentors.  They are just maintaining the status quo attitude that the western world has towards sleep, that somehow needing or wanting sleep is an act of weakness.  In fact I totally understand where these commentors are coming from, they work 8 hours (ok actually for them 12-15 hours) in an environment that high fives all nighters and working in the same suit for 72 hours because they didn’t have time to even go home and change.

The biggest problem of sleepiness isn’t productivity

Yes, sometimes there are events, projects, and people that make it worth it to go into a sleep deficiency. However, being tired on a regular basis becomes a life of not caring for oneself, and I believe a life at odds with oneself (aka self hate).  As we struggle each day with wanting sleep but not getting it, we are probably

  • Berating ourselves for feeling sleepy
  • And believing that we have to hold our breathe till some milestone in the future to give ourselves permission to love and care for ourselves

This is a sure recipe for feeling empty in each moment, including now.  For a lot of us the emptiness is more of a feeling of a thirst or longing that is never satisfied. I can tell you from years in trying to make this equation work: Non self care = Happiness, that they NEVER ever equal each other.  I think for a lot of us, the 20’s and even 30’s is the discovery of this truth.  From the depths of my own soul, from tears I cried and days I sat restless in meditation, I can tell you:

You don’t have to feel empty, and you have nothing to attain to deserve a life of feeling fulfilled.  In this very moment and every moment in the future you are worthy of happiness, enough love and of enough sleep.  I promise.

Sleep & Being Effective

Finally in addition because I believe energy is the most important ingredient to effectiveness and that is what sleep gives us, I believe actually being well rested is the way to being more effective.

This is the comment I left recently in response to this video about the recent research that shows the many ways sleep makes us more effective.

My Comments:

As humans we need love.

There is an epidemic of depression and anxiety, mainly because most true forms of self love are invalidated so we don’t do them. So we feel empty and longing for something outside of us to fufill us.

What is self love? To me self love is 100% undivided continuous attention to our full physical body.

We achieve self love by:
1. Being in the moment and focusing 100% on or phsyical body and actions
2. Feeling the oxygen and energy in our whole body
3. Not judging ourselves.

So what would behaviors of self love be that achieve these points?
1. Yoga
2. Meditation
3. Being mindful while working/moving
4. *Sleeping*
5. Just sitting, relaxing and looking at nature.

It’s sad, for most westerners we have eliminated most forms of true love for ourselves, because these types of behaviors are considered lazy ex. just sitting and not moving, taking our time (not rushing), doing one thing at a time (not multi-tasking), and getting enough sleep.

For the past 15 months I went through an inner journey ( which I’m starting to share on my blog. I started from a place where I did believe those behaviors were somewhat bad and lazy. But now after a lot of inner self study, I’ve come to realize that these behaviors, including enough sleep is the self love, care, compassion, attention to ourselves that we need in *every* moment.

The only remaining behavior of self love most of us still do is sleep, and even that is often invalidated.

Thank you Russell Foster for bringing research and support to this fundamental human need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *