Sleep and Addiction

Sleep is an addiction.  That’s the plain and simple truth.  Your mother does it while she’s pregnant with you and you are born addicted.  It’s not the worst addiction in the world, it’s definitely not the hardest to break and yet nearly everyone is addicted.  The entire world is an intricate system of enablers.  Since everyone’s doing it, there’s no pressure to stop. It has become a normal part of society.  The side effects go completely unobserved, no one cares that they are wasting seven or eight hours a night feeding their problem, getting their fix.  This incredible loss of time, how can we live this way?  They’ll all tell you the same thing too, all those experts on their habit.  They say you need it, your body has to recharge, and it takes years off your life if you don’t.  Sure it takes time off of your life, quitting a hard narcotic like sleep is a tough process.  There are some serious withdrawal symptoms you have to weather.  Charlie Parker didn’t have any heroin in his body when he died, he died from quitting too many times.  And so it goes with sleep.  Maybe you’ll lose some years off the end, but those are the years you’re going to be sitting in a chair, getting introduced to your family for the third time that month – if your lucky enough for them to visit – drooling, and soiling your diaper.  Trust me, you’re not missing much.  The time you’re losing because of sleep, though, is precious.

So how do you break this vicious need you feel for sleep every night?  Plenty of people try stimulants.  This can come with its own setbacks. Plus, you’re still addicted to sleep, you just don’t care for a while.  There’s no nicotine patch for sleep, there is only cold turkey.  That’s the only way off this ride.  At first you’re going to feel it, that insatiable desire to fall comatose on your bed or couch, but that’s the addiction talking.  Eventually you may feel faint, maybe pass out in strange places only to wake up somewhere else.  As this course continues you might even wake up in the middle of a crowded room talking to someone you can’t recall meeting about things you didn’t even know you knew anything about.  If this happens, just relax. It’s perfectly normal.  Just keep fighting the good fight.  Eventually these blackouts reduce in frequency and after a while they’ll even stop completely.  You will be healed but the urges for sleep will continue (you live in a society full of sleep addicts you’re going to be tempted). Luckily, at this point you couldn’t actually get to sleep even if you wanted to.  You can lie in bed for hours and be as tired as you’ve ever been but your body won’t let you.  You’ve taught it not to and now you can finally reap the benefits of a sleepless life.

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