Will the real sleep please step forward?


I love this drawing, with its explicit message that eight hours of “monophasic” or consolidated sleep – what we call a “good night’s sleep” in the West and consider a universal norm – is in fact only one option among many in the human (and cetacean) kingdom. Like the brain, real sleep is plastic – you can stretch it out, chop it up – it’s like silly putty. This figure appears in Head Trip’s Watch chapter, which is all about chronobiology and the secret history of segmented sleep. I write about 3 weeks spent in a remote cabin in the woods on an all-natural light program. My sleep patterns got all wiggy and – perfectly balanced between waking and dreaming – I was overcome by a violent tide of collective dream mythology, which lifted me up above the bed and then hurled me backwards through time and space like a 70s B-movie actor in a wind turbine. Then I ate a sandwich, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. I thought: ”˜oh Aslan, thee were’t such a goodly kitty.’

Share this post: