The double-standard of sleep in society

Thinking a bit about sleep, society says that it cares a lot about sleep, scientists are steadily releasing studies showing the effects of x and y amount of sleep and people are encouraged by our public actors to get more sleep so we will perform better in our duty to the system. Let’s leave out the tyrannical side of just considering human beings as cogs in a wheel for a second and just analyze whether this picture is actually correct. For as we all know just because a public representative is saying something it doesn’t mean that they mean it – or even if they mean it are capable of seeing the bigger picture.

Say that I want to get 8 hours of sleep. Right now I am a university student so that would be no problem at all, I would get less time, but due to more nerve energy would get more done in that time. But students are not the norm so lets see a few other positions:

High School Student – School starts at 8:30 AM (not counting comuting, which could be 1-2 hours one-way if you live in the suburbs – meaning get up at around 6-3:30) and ends between 2 and 5 PM (mostly 5). This basically means that for the high-school student to get those 8 hours of sleep he should more or less go to bed when he gets home and has gotten his dinner (maybe relaxing for a hour or so). Personally I really don’t see THAT MUCH of a problem with this, high-school is not somewhere you really gain “knowledge”. Think back – what did you really learn in high school? That’s right…nothing! It’s a storage facility where the kids are kept to mature a few extra years until they are ready for society (be it work or uni.). But to mature they need to be able to receive and properly react the the correct input. So if everything with school ended at school it would not be as much of a problem, but they are also given homework, which takes a few extra hours to do. So they are telling the high-school students to get their 8 hours of sleep, but making it impossible for them to do so.

For a teacher the situation would be even worse, as their hours would far extend beyond those of the students, and they who needs to supervise the students needs far more nerve-energy than students who “just” needs to react to input. Bottom line: the society today is supposedly maximized for efficiency, but as they don’t allow the people to get the energy they require to be effective (which anyways is not holy writ for what makes good society on it’s own) it is not conductive to those purposes. I don’t say that science  is right all the time or that more of anything is always correct (those in this case it is), but if society is not going to be serious in allowing it’s population to get sleep, it should just be serious about it and stop telling them to get x hours of sleep, they have done it realistically impossible for them to get (except for professions who do not have a strict work schedule, but rather works based on things that must be done in a day).


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