Why I Hate Sleeping
Updated: May 6
Since childhood and until today, other than the obvious fact that sleeping is essential to human existence, I have never actually understood why we humans need to sleep, let alone need to dream. Of course, we need sleep to re-energize, to recover, and to be more awake. Other than those reasons, do we actually know why we humans need to sleep, while there are other species, such as ants, that do not, and still manage to live and thrive successfully?
After thinking about ants, I believe that sleeping truly is a liability, more than it is a great benefit, especially when realizing the fact that we sleep around a third of our lives. This means that, because of said liability, we literally waste away a third of our lives, while other few species get to live the entirety of their lifetime.
The most frustrating thing I find about sleeping, at least from personal experience, is this: even after spending an above-average duration of sleeping (I recently slept almost an entire day), I still found that I am tired. The question that arises from this is, why sleep a lot when there's a reasonable chance that you'll be tired anyways?
Here are some possible answers to these questions. Extra material is added below:
Why do we need to sleep?
There are many theories about why we need to sleep. Some scientists believe that sleep helps to consolidate memories, while others believe that it helps to repair and regenerate cells. Still others believe that sleep helps to regulate our emotions and mood.
Why do ants not need to sleep (At least the same way we do)?
Ants are very different from humans in many ways. They have a much simpler nervous system, and they do not experience the same level of stress as humans do. As a result, they do not need to sleep as much as we do.
Is sleeping a liability?
Whether or not sleeping is a liability is a matter of opinion. Some people believe that the benefits of sleep outweigh the costs, while others believe that the opposite is true. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide how much sleep they need and how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to get it.
(I, at least, minimize sleep, because I believe there are far more important things than myself. Things like my work. Things like this empire I'm trying to build).
Even as a kid, I always felt tired, even after sleeping a reasonable amount of time. This tiredness still haunts me at times, even as an adult. Sleep is something that we know we need, but we don't know exactly why, especially given the fact that not all biological beings need to sleep. Of course, we know the many benefits of a good night's sleep, but we don't know why sleep is necessary for these benefits to occur.
Imagine a reality where we did not need to spend a third of our lifetime sleeping; a reality where we did not even need to rest in the afternoon or evening after a hard day's work. Imagine a reality where we would have far more free time on our hands after returning from our jobs, just because sleeping wouldn't be necessary.
Surely, sleep is a very comfortable activity, especially when the bed and the temperature of the room are comfortable, and in addition, it's very refreshing, at least to some. However, this does not justify such a liability taking up so much of our lives. I guess that at least, compared to cats, who sleep two thirds of their significantly shorter life, we are a more privileged species. Perhaps sleeping is ideal for those who tend to be very bored, and are not always successful in killing their free time, regardless of how much free time they have.
Another thing that frustrates me a lot about sleep are dreams. It's not because my dreams are not interesting, but because whenever I dream, it appears that my sense of judgment is reduced significantly, to the point of not always being able to distinguish illusion from reality. I don't know if this is the case for other people as well, or something that is unique to me, but when I spend some time in the dream world, only to find it was all a deception, played by my subconscious, I can't help but to feel a bit angry.
Dreams themselves are even more mysterious than the act itself of sleeping, in a sense that we still haven't figured out for sure their necessity in our lives. Religious folk may claim that they serve as spiritual messages, and some psychologists would try to explain them as repressed expressions of our minds -- but ultimately, they are but speculations, and not an exact science.
I personally think that their existence is unnecessary, especially when they serve as a fake stimulation of reality. Ever since I was a kid I dreamt of an existing video game I really like; I had dreams of fictional islands, characters, stories and even monsters, and for some reason, I actually thought that I was playing that game.. Only to find out the harsh fact that they were all an illusion; things that don't actually exist in the game itself.
Compared to other biological beings, sleeping is not only a liability but also a disability, because when we sleep, we need to sacrifice not only our time but our safety. This argument comes from the Israeli experience, so if it weren't for the efficiency of our alarms, implemented across the country, many more people would die to rockets during military conflicts. Furthermore, should you travel across a jungle, unless you have a partner that would serve as a sentry at night, you might as well get killed while asleep by predators, or even by other people who just happen to go there, like bandits, kidnappers or terrorists.
My childhood itself used to be very solitary. The family member I used to live with was (and is) extremely tired, to the point I would only see them in the afternoon or evening during a day off from school. Although solitary, this period in my life allowed me to learn how to be more independent in terms of passing the time and combating boredom. I guess a sleeping of another helped me, somewhat, in the path acknowledging the solitary man I am.
Speaking of sleeping in general -- imagine if only a few people would need to sleep, while the rest of humanity could pretty much live their lives without this necessity. Would, then, the notion of sleeping would actually be seen as a disability? A disability like blindness, deaf-ness and so on? I wager that it would, becuase the notion of disability is more relative than one might think. Should ants be sentient and would live with us humans in coexistence, they would probably be racist towards us. They would pride in the fact that while we sleep, they are busy in dominating the world and getting things done.
(After I've done some research, ants indeed sleep, but not the same as us, and not as much as us. I guess it's the only reason I like ants).
Finally, if there's something that I am grateful for, is the fact that I have much free time to write, despite sleep taking so much of my lifespan. It truly is a privilage not every writer has. However, should humanity ever invent something, such as a pill, that would prevent us ever needing to sleep, many more books, articles and videos would be created. By others. By me.
Sleep well on these sources: