As a newish parent, I’ve come up against something that has baffled other parents forever: children don’t sleep.
It doesn’t make logical sense, especially that my daughter cries more when she’s tired, rather than, you know, going to sleep. I hear it gets worse later, as children refuse to settle down for sleep when their parents are still awake. Someone wrote a book about it, which Sam Jackson read aloud in memorable fashion. If only George Carlin were alive to bless this book with a reading. NSFW for language, incidentally.
As I checked my email one last time on my iPad, lying in bed, ready to sleep, I realized something.
People can’t stand to be uninformed, at any age, also know as what-if-something-happens-while-I’m-sleeping syndrome.
This makes scientific (I use the word loosely) sense, since sleep is the time when you’re most vulnerable. Modern conditions protect the vast majority from harm while sleeping, so maybe we’re transferring that nervousness to checking other items before rest. I also have to think that humans with more information tended to be more successful throughout the millenia. After all, our brains helped us overcome other physical shortcomings when compared to other mammals.
The rise of the smartphone and tablet (OK, iPad) ties directly to this need to be constantly informed, constantly connected.
Even though it can lead to poor sleep, a large number of people check email in bed, before heading off to sleep, and first thing in the morning before they even get out of bed. It helps that the smartphone has an alarm, among its many other dazzling features, making it an easy fit for the nightstand.
I’d like to think this is new, but it’s not. Lots of people, including people in my household, use a laptop in bed. Lots of people religiously watch the late news in bed or read the newspaper at night or in the morning over breakfast.
We just can’t stand to be uninformed, and I’m realizing this starts at a very early age, like immediately. For example, my daughter is much easier to put to sleep at night if her parents are also going to sleep. Among the reasons why, I assume, is the knowledge that interesting stuff isn’t happening without her, since we’re also sleeping. Pretty smart.
So, what do you think? Are we wired to stay informed through whatever means possible and even in detriment to our overall welfare?
Do you check email (or Twitter, Facebook, etc.) all the time, in bed, and first thing in the morning?
Knowledge is power, so the saying goes.
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