I recently read an article about a British study that purported to reveal a link between the position a person adopts while sleeping, and their personality. The piece was accompanied by drawings of sleeping men and women in cartoon pajamas. They were curled up in little balls, stretched out like a hippie jumping off a cliff in a Mountain Dew commercial -- and everything in between. 

The whole thing triggered a full-body shiver.

There's no way to get around it: sleep is creepy. It's not something I talk about in mixed company, because I'm seemingly alone in these beliefs, but I've always felt this
way. I remember being a kid and becoming slightly uncomfortable whenever they showed people in bed on Little House on the Prairie, preparing to turn themselves over to an eight-hour mini­coma (on the prairie). I'm sorry, but the widely accepted nightly ritual of climbing atop an elevated platform and assuming a state of insect-like dormancy is disturbing to me.

The fact that otherwise bright and energetic people willingly allow themselves to become drooling vegetables at the end of each day, feels like a failure. We, as superior animals, should be above such base requirements by now. It's clear that we aren't yet fully evolved, and are nothing more than glorified praying mantises, walking around with delusions of grandeur. Every night, as I climb aboard my raised dormancy platform, I sigh with resignation, feeling like a monkey in pants.

And have you ever seen a person sleeping? They look like idiots. I have no doubt that Albert Einstein himself resembled Gomer Pyle in a gas leak, while drifting off to sleep. As I put a fresh pillow case on my pillow every six months or so, I see the stains there, created by excess saliva that rolled out of my mouth during my nightly transformation into a lobotomized fool, and I feel shame. 

This is no way to live, people.

In addition to all the time wasted to voluntary loss of consciousness, I worry that one of these days I'll go in too deep, and won't be able to pull out on the other side. Sleep is Death Lite, and playing chicken with the grim reaper is, I think, ill-advised. Yet we do it every day. So far I've won every contest, but the odds keep getting longer and longer. It's Russian roulette beneath a fluffy comforter. 

Most of us seem to be cocky about it, absolutely sure we'll wake up in the morning, but I know better. Tonight could very well be the night that I'm drawn to the light. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take...

And the fact that sleep is not only accepted by society, but also celebrated, concerns me. We should be working at correcting this abnormality. Instead, we continue building homes equipped with special rooms (chambers) in which to assume our freakish science-fiction state of suspended animation, complete with fancy hand-carved hibernation stands.

"How big's your new house?" "Oh, not too big. It has four dormancy chambers, and two waste-elimination alcoves."

We also frequent places of business, like Bed, Bath
and Beyond, where one can purchase a whole myriad of frilly, scented dormancy supplies. Dr. Phil might call it "enabling." If we had a grotesque dangling mole on our faces, we'd have it removed, not drive across town to purchase an imported mole cozy. Why are we not seriously endeavoring to eliminate our reliance on the sleep abomination?

Don't even get me started on dreams. When somebody begins a sentence with, "Oh man, I had the weirdest dream last night..." I head for the exit. Thank you for your desire to share, but the bizarre misfirings of your nocturnal brain waves frighten me. You say you were playing Jarts in a jock strap with Willie Mays and Mel from Alice? Well, that's simply excellent.

My wife loves to sleep; she views it as a refuge. She actually looks forward to it, which I find slightly insulting. I'm just the opposite, of course. I put it off as long as possible, and curse its talent for robbing me of one-third of my precious life. Escape can be had with beer and DVDs which, I believe, is highly preferable to wallowing around in heavy fabrics, three feet above the floor. When I finally give in to sleep's evil come-ons, it feels like defeat. Why, if I had an extra seven or eight hours per day, I could rule the world. Or at least watch a shitload of television.

Through history there have been many visionaries who've attempted to circumvent sleep, including Thomas Edison and Kramer, but we generally just accept it as a fact of life. What we need is something that will allow us to stay awake all the time, preferably in an easy-to-swallow tablet, with no adverse physical consequences. 

I seem to remember reading a piece on the Internet a while ago, about a half-assed military experiment along those lines. For some reason they want soldiers to be able to stay awake for a week at a time, which seems a tad cruel. But once they get all the bugs worked out, by testing it on gullible college students and whatnot, I'd be interested in getting in on the deal -- far away from the battlefield, of course. It would be like having your weeks Super-Sized.

In the meantime, though, I guess I have no choice but to play along and do my time atop the platform. I do so under protest, however; I want that to be noted. 

And in case you're interested, the sleep position I usually adopt is called The Yearner in the British study I mentioned. "People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it."

You got that right, bucko. And that's why I'm writing this at
4 a.m.

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