Earnest Hemmingway observed, “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” Yes, I do know. Who hasn’t had a time in his or her life when sleep was more welcome than coping with daily challenges? But sleep — too much or too little — is not only a sign of depression, it can be the cause as well. Not surprisingly, then, some of us chase a good night’s sleep with the fever of an addiction.
For good or ill, there are those among us ready to exploit our paranoia. Sleep has become big business and remedies for insomnia seem endless. No need to count sheep. Have you tried thermoregulation? (“Night Moves,” Arille Pardes, Wired, April, 2019, pg. 30.) Based upon what scientists have learned about the sleep cycle, some entrepreneur has invented a mattress to mimic that rhythm. It begins with putting the body in a warm state , then cooling it down when the Sandman calls.
The manufacturer claims the mattress is so effective, an individual can get a good night’s rest in 6 rather than 7 or 8 hours. (Ibid, pg. 3.) Of course, besting Mother Nature comes at a price: $2297. But wait! There’s more. A person can buy a mattress that adjusts its firmness, too. The price? $5,950.
As might be expected, other accouterments exist to enhance slumber. For $100, there’s a lamp that dims and brightens with the sleep cycle. Or how about headphones to monitor brain waves and pipe music into a dreamer’s ears? That will cost a few pennies more.
Given all the gadgets available, there’s little wonder the sleep business, without counting prescriptions and over-the-counter aids, is a whopping $76 billion dollar industry. (Ibid, pg. 30.)
Getting into the Land of Nod is cheaper for me. When I can’t fall asleep, I chew a handful of raisons, remembering to brush my teeth afterwards. No point in spending my savings at the dentist’s office.