Sleep and modernity

This article1 in the Norwegian Harvest Magazine describes the central arguments of another English essay regarding sleep from 2003 by Roger Schmidt 2.

Notably the dawn of the “modern lack of sleep” is set to 1650; the year of the introduction of caffeine in the form of tea and coffee to England and not (as is more typical) to the introduction of Edison’s lisght bulb.

The article also speaks of the introduction of modern time keeping devices and the disappearance of the old cyclical time in much the same way as the Danish historian Søren Mørch in his -in my opinion fantastic- book Store forandringer.

The result of the described development is that sleep today is viewed as wasteful and indulgent if practised in “large” amounts; a moral vice.

Sleep the seasons and climate change

Another Harvest article3 about sleep, lack thereof and the productivity induced modern day (work) schedule. It starts with the fact that our work and life schedules don’t change in winter even though we are naturally more tired this part of the year.

It re-uses fairly common arguments against the imposed scedule: invention of the mechanical clock, electrical light, capitalism and factory work, all leading us to follow an artificial rythm of life instead of a more natural one. The section above outlines these in more detail.

In the end it ties this together with climate issues and says that we should all aspire to do less. This being a revolutionary action given our current predicament.

On winter and relaxing:

Vinteren er en tid for å trekke seg tilbake og spare på kreftene. Bare mennesker, med sitt framskritt, sine fulle kalendere og sitt elektriske lys til å betvinge mørket, insisterer på å trosse de naturlige syklusene.

On time-control and productivity:

Gjennom det kapitalistiske samfunnets historie har kontrollen over tida vært et virkemiddel for å øke produktiviteten, og dermed profitten. I dag må en lagerarbeider hos Amazon scanne 1800 pakker i timen, eller en annenhvert sekund. Hvis ikke risikerer de å miste jobben.

On the act of doing nothing:s

I en tid der økonomien truer med å ødelegge økosystemet, er å gjøre ingenting en revolusjonær handling.

Sleep and winter

This Gutkind essay4 is a great read regarding the seasonal changes of our biological bodies and its lack of compatability with the modern needs of production set to a non-negotiable schedule.

Sleep habits

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