Columns, Opinion

Let Your Hair Down: America, get some sleep

Sleep is a necessary part of human life, obviously. But what role does sleep perform in the world we live in today and how does it affect our social lives? 

Sleep’s place in society becomes more complex as the U.S. advances and reshapes overtime.The way a lack of sleep and an overworked body are glamorized in American culture is strange. We often brag about how little rest we got the night before to show off our endurance and work ethic. 

A seemingly private thing we all do, sleep can be thought of as both an escape from life’s demands and as a means of revitalizing our bodies. But because we now find ourselves in an era of 24/7 online alertness, the push to do more and sleep less has become trendier.

Adequate sleep is often referred to as unattainable for successful people, feeding into the notion that hard workers and those who truly succeed must not spend their time resting. Why is the idea of neglecting our bodies of rest idealized? 

Present-day America perpetuates the idea that sleep corresponds with laziness. Somehow, today’s social structure demands that the ideal worker achieves goals without the aid of sleep, a literal human need. 

This normalizes the “all-nighter” and places admiration on the picture of an overworked individual. However, the link between success and sleeplessness is only a social stigma built by the frameworks of society’s working world and modern education system. 

Thus, judgments about a person’s work ethic and self-discipline are determined based on these measures, so a lack of sleep serves as a social indicator of how valuable an individual’s occupational role or status may be.

According to a recent study by the Sleep Foundation, only 47 percent of adults reported they feel sleepy throughout the day and many feeling so extremely sleepy that they doze off unintentionally throughout the day. 

Public health and safety is in potential jeopardy due to the misinformed ideologies of the successful workaholic who puts sleep on the back-burner in the pursuit of achievement. 

American life clings to productivity and increasingly looks down upon personal care and wellness, but we must at some point succumb to the irresistible drowsiness that daunts over us, and that is not wrong, weak or lazy. As adequate sleep becomes further and further from the norm in America, the image of success finds less and less space for sleep in its recipe.


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