When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

06 March 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream, dammit

I've been an insomniac my entire life; I didn't sleep well as an infant right out of the womb, and I don't sleep well as a 40 year-old man; for all I know, I had disturbed sleep patterns as a zygote and fetus as well.

This article in the Washington Post about famous insomniacs -- and the creative edge often associated with insomnia -- makes me feel a little better.

The notion that insomnia might have a use is counterintuitive. Conventional wisdom insists that to perform at your best -- as a student facing a test, an athlete preparing for a game, a lawyer scheduled to argue in court, etc. -- you need a good night's sleep. (As an insomniac, however, I might point out that all this harping on the efficacy of sleep only compounds the problem: How in blazes can you get a good night's sleep when you're worried about getting a good night's sleep and doing your best in that exam or soccer tournament or hearing? For the hard-of-sleeping, it's sometimes a tossup as to which is heavier, the pressure to sleep well or the pressure to do well in the activity being slept for.)

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