Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sleep: What is natural vs. normal


I wanted to originally make this blog more scholarly with source citations and well written articles. However, part of the fun of maintaining a blog regardless of whether people are reading or not is to just puke out your ideas into a word processor and hit publish.

I feel like this blog is slowly morphing into my verbal vomit on personal experiments, viewpoints and my overall definition of the meaning to be healthy.

So here I am writing a blog about sleep. Sleep comes to mind because I am faced with a doctors appointment in the next few days as well as a conversation I had with a friend via e-mail. This is not an article about conversations with friends and doctors appointments but instead is about sleep and what is natural versus what is normal.


So to preface I am not someone who is super critical of how people live their lives. I'm in some regards mildly libertarian minus the whole racism thing and only on certain issues.
Rand Paul, libertarian

O.k., that was more than an enough ranting for an introduction to begin an article.

A friend of mine was talking about falling asleep in front of  television as the only way he could fall asleep. There are so many people I know who are "insomniacs" and that the only way they can fall asleep is in front of the television. This is essentially what has become the norm and anyone going to bed earlier than midnight is somehow a weirdo.

So I am apparently a weirdo but people fail to look at science when they argue about their insomnia and watching television. The new normal is to fall asleep to watching television despite the fact that these people do not consider that this particular thing could indeed be affecting their very sleep cycle.

Unbeknownst to most people light plays a critical role in your waking, alertness and when you fall asleep. Our whole modern day lifestyle combats our natural biology tooth and nail by sitting under flourescent lights, computers and cell phones. In particular these devices are affecting the way we behave, our moods, and how we sleep.

This is the new normal but this is not natural... at all. My friend wanted to argue that people are so adapted to television these days that it is natural. Natural? I don't think so because this counters what is studied in science and looks at only a small percentage of the world's population.

Take into account poor sleep quality and depressed melatonin production can contribute to a number of health issues that can all be resolved by simply getting more sleep. Their is nothing natural about having type-2 diabetes, being overweight, having high blood pressure, low testosterone and human growth hormone , cancer and being depressed all the time or at least in a poor mood.


Normal but not natural
The funny thing is that better sleep can either eliminate or at least improve some of these symptoms. Sleep is so vital to the quality of our life yet people so seldom work to improve upon this or even take it into consideration when trying to be healthy.

I consider myself a highly athletic and somewhat energetic person. I couldn't be the way I am if I didn't stress sleep so much... and yet I still feel like there is room for improvement. I wish at times I could live the pro-athlete lifestyle and simply have the luxury of taking naps in the middle of the day. Feeling tired in the middle of the day fyi is not unnatural and it is not a deficiency in caffeine or any other stimulant (I prefer cocaine, jk).

This is your body doing what it does best.

Not all of us are maybe built to go to bed by 10 p.m. I'm not arguing that especially after my extremely limited research on chronobiology. However, I am arguing that falling asleep at 2 a.m. is probably not normal.

I'm 26-years-old and the normal thing for most people my age is to stay up drink, listen to records and to try and fuck anything that moves. However, it is pretty hard to fuck anything that moves when you have a depressed libido from a lack of sleep. That is normal it isn't natural.

What is perceived to be normal in todays society is not normal simply looking at anthropology (perhaps one of the most valuable sciences when it comes to human health) should provide enough of an example at this.

Natural but not normal
Being overweight and in declining health runs counter to populations that lack our modern convenience of nightlights and television.

This article is not to say I don't watch television or take advantage of modern technology. I love the internet since I am information junkie (not to be confused with a news junkie). I can safely say that Wikipedia is my shit but I don't watch a lot of T.V. simply because it doesn't really interest me and also because I recognize the myriad of health issues that come along with it.

Me consciously going to bed before 11 and preferably at 10 p.m. is not natural. Me going out of my way is to avoid blue light, television, taking cold showers, meditating and hanging up black out shades to improve my sleep is not natural. I want to clarify I am not natural nor am I even normal since I intentionally go out of my way to do these things.

The natural thing to do would be to be living off the land in a hut and simply allowing the rise and fall of the sun determine your bedtime and level of sleepiness. What is natural is to sit by the fire with friends, family and sexual/emotional partners and to share stories, watch for predators and to occasionally engage in coitus with one another.

What I do however is set  myself up in a way that is going to at least mitigate some of the disasters of an already unnatural existence in a lifestyle that doesn't afford for nightly campfires and being constantly exposed to natural sunlight.

I am not natural, I am not normal but always remember normal is not natural they are not to be confused.
 
The health risks of television would make a great article aside from the obvious things like sitting on your fat worthless ass and stuffing your face with processed calorie rich food. Alas, this particular post is not about that.

As usual this blog post has become a bit of a ranty diatribe and somewhere I hope nestled in my writing a point and an argument has been made.

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