Human beings have a history of sleeping since this species evolved over 3 million years ago. When Homo Erectus (the forefathers of Homo Sapiens) gave up the tree branches to sleep on the ground, they started developing and fine-tuning this process to what it is today.
It is important for you to realise what a fine piece of machinery you own in your body. This is a highly developed self-healing and self-sustaining machinery that runs by itself without much need for version upgrades.
When to sleep, how much to sleep, what happens during sleep have all been developed over the last 3 million years and this one process has made human beings the super species of this planet that rules over the whole planet.
It is said that you can survive up to 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. But if you go four days without sleep, it will become intolerable and perhaps fatal, though there is a record of someone who survived 11 days without sleep to get into the record books.
I find it difficult to live 24 hours without sleep and if I have two sleepless nights it feels like the end of the world for me.
Sleep is even more important for us than food and unless we recognise the centrality of sleep in our life, we will give it the poor cousin treatment and end up hurting ourselves in the process.
Sleep is not a disturbance to our work or life. Sleep helps us work better and live better. We need to schedule our sleep-time into our calendar as we schedule any other important appointment that we may have.
That sleep time can make you smarter, better looking, healthier and more productive than if you had missed it.
In the last eight decades, man has tried to make version upgrades to this process that took three million years to develop. This has led to the epidemic of sleep disorders that is overtaking the world.
The onset of this version upgrade started with electricity and artificial light in our bedroom. In the last two decades, Televisions, digital screens, mobile devices and the internet have invaded our bedrooms and have added sensory stimulants to a space that is meant to be a place of rest.
Hundreds of millions of people are using sleeping pills regularly to get the sleep that they should have otherwise got naturally. And another billion are struggling to get their rightful sleep.
This epidemic is more insidious and dangerous than the COVID-19 epidemic because of the fact that nobody talks about it and there is no media coverage or Government diktats to prevent its spread.
However, it is marching ever so silently with more and more influencers announcing that they are able to manage with just 5 hours or 6 hours of sleep that trusting followers are blindly trying to ape this quality in the hope of getting similar success or life that their influencer has.
The cost of such a decision does not show up immediately in a noticeable or remarkable manner. Your million-dollar body tries to cope and adjust with your schedule till one day it breaks down irreparably or terminally.
Sleep is not a conscious choice that you can exercise. It’s the compensation you need to give your body for the efforts and performance it puts in for you during your waking hours. This compensation cannot be accumulated or banked to be used up later. It needs to be paid every twenty-four hours.
Where there is life, there will be sleep. They are linked together and cannot be separated. No sleep becomes permanent sleep very soon.
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