I dreamt that I slept, and when I awoke—more tired than when I first laid down—I thought my sleep should have continued. But like so many other times, I had to get up before my body was ready to get to work. I suppose that’s why I dreamt about sleeping.
A few days ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, NPR’s Hidden Brain. The episode talked about the regenerative power of sleep and focused on research done by Dr. Matt Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, “Sleep Diplomat,” and founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science. His idea was to study the effects of rest, of sleep, in humans. In his research, he talks about chronotypes, variations in our physiological cycles—cycles that control whether one functions best during the day or at night—and about the ways lack of sleep impact both health and sickness.
I don’t know how many hours of sleep I have lost (probably many more than I would like), and perhaps I may have felt proud of getting little sleep at some point in my life…In fact, itinerant professions such as mine require constant change, and after twenty years in the world of music, I have developed an astonishing ability to be able to sleep for a few hours at any moment and in any way. But at this time of year, when the body is still adapting to the changes in temperature, one is tired. And sleeping—or better yet, resting—becomes more difficult and requires further discipline. So for those able to take off work for All Saints’ Day, may this column serve as a vindication of undervalued sleep.