It’s smart to be lazy

After a week of examinations on the sleepy subject of sedation, I have risen from slumber today with sleep on my mind. Sleep, our trustee respite from another day’s toil and trouble, is terribly underrated. As we witness a “wellness revolution” of vitamins, organic food and chiropractic, I wonder why sleep’s importance has escaped our cultural radar.

It’s trendy to be attentive when it comes to eating and exercise. We scan nutritional labels and numbers (which only dieticians really understand) with the hawk-eyes of a true consumer, munch on green things to boost our morale and excuse our otherwise bad habits, and pop endless “natural” pills (none of which grow on trees, incidentally) in the hope of looking or feeling younger. We pay half our weekly income to attend a communal space where we lift heavy things with body parts not built for lifting and gyrate curiously to hyperactive rhythms, because it’s more chic than running around the block or doing push-ups.

Meanwhile, we look at those who sleep more than us with criticism, branding them as lazy. I know that amongst my closest friends, the nappers always get paid out on. As I yawn I can’t help but wonder, is this fair?

After all, my napping friends are generally nice people. Is it something to do with their rested, clear minds and energised spirits? Or are lazy people nicer people by virtue of their chromosomes? When we’re hypoglycaemic, we’re grumpy. It should make sense, then, that when we’re hyposleepic, we’re grumpy. I know I am.

According to all the research, good sleep gives you a productivity edge. Apparently our natural circadian rhythms dip in desparation for an afternoon siesta. Where do you think flamenco dancers get their energy?

There is also evidence that our less upright, robust-browed ancestors were big on the afternoon power nap, and today’s hunter gatherers uphold this fine tradition.

Some of the most productive and influential people on the planet do it, from state leaders to CEOs. But of course, their henchman and employees and taxpayers aren’t supposed to. The employee can get a coffee to increase his productivity, though research shows that it’s not beneficial. But he can’t nap.

If it makes the big wigs more productive and functional, wouldn’t we all benefit? Wouldn’t be it be a better world if we all power-napped?

The modern world killed off the nap
A tribute to the soft pleasures of dozing, backed up by hard science

…This year, researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, reported that they took test subjects who had had only five hours of sleep the night before and let them have naps of varying durations.

They found that even a 10-minute nap made the subjects feel less sleepy and more vigorous, and led to improved cognitive performance.

It’s official then. It’s smart to be lazy.

3 Responses to “It’s smart to be lazy”

  1. 1 The Commentator November 14, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I’m sleepy.

  2. 2 chan November 19, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    sleep hygiene is the best. michael carr-gregg talked about at this work thing i went to. most high school students are sleep deprived (as in the statistics are a massively high amount).
    but sleep is so good!!

  1. 1 It’s smart to be lazy, Pt. 2 « Moving Form Trackback on November 30, 2006 at 3:26 am

Leave a Reply


Site Hosting