Recently, the New York Times Magazine published an excellent piece by writer Eve Fairbanks called, “How Did Sleep Become So Nightmarish?” (It’s available online; go ahead, I’ll wait.) In it, she articulates many of the loose and often vaguely worrying notions about sleep that have been skittering around my own brain for a while now — often, ironically enough, when I’m trying to get some rest.
In her piece, Fairbanks considers how a “capitalization” of sleep has emerged from our work-culture’s obsession with productivity. She points out how, just a decade or so ago, we never would have thought to worry about how to set ourselves up to get the best sleep possible, in order to optimize our brains (and, by extension, ourselves) to wring the maximum productivity out of them the following day.
We slept because we were fucking tired.