Americans, generally speaking, have trouble getting enough sleep. Some reasons for this seem obvious, such as long hours required for maintaining a lucrative career, the long distance commute to work on backed-up highways, emotional tensions, etc. A brief Business Insider video from a couple months ago further explores this growing social health problem. In the clip, a UCLA psychiatrist explains how our growing dependence on mobile electronic devices exacerbates chronic sleeplessness. Basically, the blinking, popping lights of our cellphones overstimulate the brain and lead to toxins saturating the highways of our cerebral network.
In addition to citing electronically-based sleep deprivation as a prime culprit of “brain pollution”, Dr. Siegel also briefly refers to the modern cultural based workaholic mindset that glamorizes a lifestyle bereft of adequate sleep. Heck, rock star Bon Jovi once even released a song paying homage to the great “dirt nap” entitled “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”!
Interestingly, Siegel concedes that a small minority, say, five percent, possess differently wired brains that allow for getting through the days successfully with but a scant few hours and minutes of shut eye. One would think this then begs the question of what happens if our captains of industry, educators/school administrators, entertainers, service providers, etc. are the ones who form this select minority of “alpha-hyper-insomniacs”? How do the rest of us keep up?
This notion particularly impacts our nation’s school children, many of whom must catch buses to school during pre-dawn hours to start homeroom well before 7:30 am. It becomes a rather fascinating kind of “chicken or the egg” argument as regards how the classroom environment can best prepare young people for the workplace. Shouldn’t we restructure the world of the classroom so that young people with fresh, well-rested minds can set their sights toward a work culture more in harmony with human nature? Or do we settle for an educational system that toughens kids up for the 9 to 5 grinding climb up the corporate ladder?
Ideas to sleep on!