Freddy Hope is the victim of some serious insomnia in the story "Sleep" from my upcoming short story collection No-Injury Policy. The reason sleep is the topic of many of my stories is due to the one writer stereotype that is true about me: I often can't sleep or forget to sleep at a reasonable time when I'm working on a new story or novel.
However, the cure for both Freddy and me might be as simple as taking a nap. In the Rethinking Sleep article of The New York times, there are many theories on how sleeplessness arises, and now it's not just for the creative types. You could find yourself forgetting to sleep even if all you have is a cell phone.
For most people, there's a certain time frame during which they like to sleep. In the case of Fred Hope, there's no such thing. While his case is rather unusual, a lack of sleep can cause some twisted thinking. Lucky for most us, we're not like Mr. Hope and we won't start the revolution with all of the insomniacs in our home town.
However, even for those with a bedtime, a few sleepless nights might be on the horizon.
According the Rethinking Sleep article, setting a certain time to sleep with the imperative of 8 hours of rest is quite limiting and is often the very pressure that keeps us awake. You try to sleep by 10pm every night so you'll be wide awake at work, but then you spend at least an hour trying to force yourself to sleep.
For anyone who loves Facebook, Twitter, or just about any piece of technology with social capabilities, you might find yourself wanting to check your profile or email really quick before bed. Needless to say, you'll glance down at the clock and realize you've be skimming your news-feed passively for hours.
The notion of getting 8 hours of sleep isn't an ancient belief. In fact, it only came about in the 1900s. What's important to note, however, is that many works such as The Canterbury Tales reference the idea of first and second sleep. Rather than staying asleep for eight hours, many people napped early on in the afternoon, were productive the rest of the day, and slept at night for a short period of the time in order to capitalize on the early morning.
Afternoon naps don't need too be hours long. Many studies show a half-hour or a little less greatly stimulates our minds.
So if sleeping 8 hours a night doesn't work for you - that is, you never feel rested - then consider finding a way to take quick nap during the day. It's really a shame our workplaces do not allow it. Many countries like China and India call for employees to take a quick nap right after lunch. The idea is their employees are properly rested and will be more productive the rest of the day. Too bad no likes this idea in Long Brooke, or Freddy Hope wouldn't have to learn how to shoot a rifle.
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