What’s up with that

Deep in thought, deep in sleep

Becky Hoving, Staff Writer

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Sleep is weird. For seven hours– or more if you’re lucky— you lay on a special rectangle, shades drawn, blankets and pillows arranged to perfection, sometimes even with specific relaxing music or a silky sleep mask over your eyes. For all these hours, you lay still, without need to go to the bathroom or indulge in the bag of chips in your cupboard.

And when you don’t have sleep, you go crazy. Your eyes droop, your hair frizzes and you feel stressed, exhausted and uncomfortable. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, not accomplishing anything. What’s up with that?

Turns out, scientists don’t really know what’s up with that either. We know that we need a certain amount of sleep to function properly, yet we are all too familiar with dreaded all-nighters.

What would happen if you just didn’t sleep? Sure, you would become grumpy and eventually, according BBC, after 17 or more hours of wakefulness, you would reach a state of loopiness equivalent to that after two glasses of wine. But would anything worse occur? It’s certainly hard to tell, but one thing’s for sure; man is the only mammal who will willingly delay sleep.

It’s incredibly common and undeniably normal. Sleep is sleep. Everyone does it, everyone craves it and everyone loves it. But when you think about it, the concept is utterly confusing. During the day we might not be able to last a Netflix marathon without hitting the bottom of the popcorn bowl, yet we are able to sleep peacefully for hours and hours on end without eating or drinking or going to the bathroom.

And not only does sleep suspend any physical desires, but there are all sorts of crazy myths that promote better sleeping habits. Drinking warm milk before bed? Check. Wearing socks to sleep? Check. Turning your phone off 30 minutes before you hit the hay? Check (almost). There are countless more reminders from your mother that were passed from her mother and hers that promise a refreshed night’s sleep. Scientists have been trying to prove these rituals worth-while for decades, but one thing’s for sure, you’ll find sleep eventually.

What you’ll dream of is a whole other story, but tonight when you close your blinds and dim your bathroom light to the perfect level, know that everyone has their own ritual, and it’s probably just as weird as the next person’s.

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