We spend most of our lives either at work, going to work, leaving work, or dreading work. That means there isn’t a ton of time left for more personal things, like lying on the couch for six hours straight, or eating an entire sheet cake in one sitting (though, technically, you might be able to do that at work, depending on whether you have your own office). When we get off work, we often try to make up for lost time, which cuts into our sleep. Sometimes, even if we’re not forcing ourselves to stay awake, the sheer wrongness of how we’re “living” our lives keeps us awake all hours (yes, we mean indigestion). We get up in the morning, pump ourselves full of go-juice (read: coffee), and try not to make eye contact with anyone in case we start crying.
But there’s something you might not realize about sleeplessness, a benefit, perhaps. See, there are worlds hidden behind this one, and they can only be seen through the magic of insomnia. It’s not the easiest thing to pierce the veil, though.
Scientists claim that we need sleep. But do we? After all, 65% of all school assignments were written by a sleep deprived student. And some of those papers even got a C+. If you think the percentage isn’t higher for projects done at work, you’re probably the only person in the room who’s awake. We guarantee you, a significant percentage of every good or service you’ve ever paid for was done by folks shuffling along on not enough sleep.
Real talk: a long, long time ago, we were mortal beings who existed as part of a natural cycle yadda yadda yadda. Sleep was a necessary thing back then because sabre-toothed tigers or something. But nowadays we have a little thing called crystal met-WE MEAN STARBUCKS. Yes, Starbucks. That’s what we have. *sniffle.*
But sleep is natural, you may be saying. Yeah, it is. You know what isn’t natural? Absolutely everything in our lives. You’re reading this on a computer screen, sitting in an office or Nobel Prize for Parody Self-Help Committee bathroom. The idea that we should cling to some imagined and inaccurate ideal of “nature” is absurd. Quick show of hands: how many of us have ever been eaten? If you have, then you have some insight into what nature actually is. Taking a walk in the park is not nature. Unless that’s where you were eaten. If that’s the case, sorry. Also, maybe we should write a letter to the city council about that. If, you know, you somehow survived.
Sleep does serve a purpose, though. It gives our brains a chance to clear out all the bullshit we stepped in that day. It lets our body rest. It gives our roommate Creepy Steve something to watch, other than the neighbors. So, it seems like something that should just happen, since it’s so useful, right?
So what causes insomnia? There’s a lot of pseudoscience out there that claims all sorts of things cause sleeplessness. Let’s address some of them.
Watching TV/Computer Screens in Bed
Websites with names like “RealNatureScience,” “RainbowLoveAlternative” or “The American Medical Association” love to post “articles” about how everything we enjoy in life is killing us. We’re not saying they’re wrong, but we are saying they’re being nags. And maybe some of us are ready to die, especially if it’s at the hands of someone or something we love, like pirated copies of the entire original Garfield cartoon series. One thing these “experts” like to trot out is that watching computer screens in bed leads to sleeplessness.
We don’t know about you, but half the time, when we sit on the couch watching TV or a movie, we fall asleep. Watching TV in bed simply cuts out the middleman. Also, do you know how long we’ve been trying to get through this movie? We’ve watched it three times, and every time, we fall asleep halfway through. If watching it in bed actually kept us awake, maybe we’d get through it for once.
Having Soda (Caffeine) Before Bed
Do you know how many people die every year from drinking water? If we include drowning (and why wouldn’t we?) that number skyrockets to 360 million a day. Now, how many people die from drinking Mountain Dew? Nobody. Unless you count an awesome beveraging experience as “death,” WHICH WE DO NOT. It is the opposite, in fact. It is life. Case closed.
Some people who call themselves doctors just because they have a little piece of paper will tell you that having caffeine before bed might keep you awake. This is just one of the reasons why the authors of this blog don’t visit “doctors.” (The others being, in no particular order: expense, can’t remember where their office is, afraid they’ll make fun of our fish-belly-white tummies.)
Here’s the thing, sleeping is a lot like love; it sounds good in theory, but in practice, who has the time? But there’s always time for soda. And dirty crying in gas station bathrooms after we had to pull over halfway through the commute home from work. Perhaps we’re getting off topic.
Look, we spend our evenings like most people, shoving entire pizzas into our mouths while binge watching Charmed reruns. If these “doctors” expect us to get off the couch and go all the way to bed, we’re going to need some kind of energy source to do that. Soda is the best and tastiest energy source. It’s a Catch 22, danged if you don’t, danged if you do situation.
Some people say that if you have nightmares it’s because of what you ate before bed, which is why you should never eat a clown with your mother’s face and chainsaws for arms who keeps trying to hug you — not just before bed; you really probably shouldn’t eat that any time. Or ever think about it again. Sorry.
Anyway, the most common nag seems to be that if you eat spicy foods, you’ll have nightmares. We decided to test this out by drinking an entire gallon of milk right before bed. Let us summarize the experience by stating that it did not help prevent nightmares, waking or otherwise.
But this raises an interesting point. If what you eat before bed can affect what you dream, can we control that? Can we eat certain things to make us dream certain things? What about midnight snackers? Are they affecting their dreams — is that maybe why they’re drawn to do it? They’re feeding some kind of dream deficit? Hang on while we go down some unusual food combinations to find out.
Dangers of Sleeping
So far, we’ve been talking about how freaking great sleep is, but there are also some dangers “the man” doesn’t want you to know about, such as:
Swallowing Spiders. They say that the average person swallows eight spiders a year while sleeping. We don’t know about you, but that’s enough of a reason to never sleep again. Also, what are those spiders doing in our mouths? One theory is that the spiders are walking across the ceiling, trip, and fall into our open mouths, where they’re swallowed. Lots of holes in this. First thing, spiders have 8 legs. They’d have to trip like 6 or 7 of them to fall off the ceiling. Have you ever seen a spider fall off a ceiling? Neither have we. That must mean it doesn’t ever happen. Case closed. Also, they’d have to fall directly into our mouths. What are the odds a spider “trips” at the exact spot right above our mouths, and then that happens seven more times in a year? Also, don’t spiders have built-in bungee cords? No, none of this makes sense. The only way it works is if there’s a far more sinister truth at play: these spiders we’re swallowing must be suicidal. For whatever reasons, we’re enabling them to leave this world. We don’t know about you, but we aren’t sure we’re okay with that. Have they tried counseling? Sure, maybe they’re in a lot of pain with no hope of recovering, but there simply isn’t enough information for us to be comfortable with this scenario. No more sleeping for us until we get it sorted out.
Sleep Paralysis. If you’ve never experienced this, you will the next time you sleep, after reading this. YOU’RE WELCOME. Sleep paralysis is kind of like a misfire in the sleep machine. Basically, you’re supposed to be awake, you feel like you are, but you can’t move. You lie there, paralyzed, probably needing to pee. Then, the Slender Man comes and kills you. But before you die, he mocks your bedroom decor. Jee-sus. Hello, Insomnia!
People Drawing Things On Your Face. Wyppo get up to some nonsense. We recognize this. Drawing on each others’ faces, though, is kind of messed up. A group of guys are partying (read: drinking) and one of them passes out. His “friends” then draw dicks on his forehead and face. Or, if it’s a group of women, maybe they draw vaginas. We don’t know. We were never in a frat. Or a sorority. Also, these are garbage people we’re talking about. Anyway, if you don’t sleep, they can’t draw on you. With their garbage selves. So maybe the lesson here is don’t fall asleep around awful people. Probably a good life lesson all the way around.
Sleep can be a wonderful thing, just like crystal meth, but also like crystal meth, it can overwhelm your life and make you lose your teeth. Okay, maybe that’s a bad comparison. Anyway, none of us are getting enough sleep these days, and unless we hit the lottery, that isn’t likely to change. We work all the time and have access to so many things that are supposed to extend our lifespans, like vitamins and a lack of sabretoothed tigers, but we’re all dying on our feet — and dying young — because of lack of sleep. The important takeaway from this is if you’re going to smoke meth, be sure to burn the coating off the aluminum foil first. That shit will give you Alzheimers.