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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sleep and putting Human needs first

 Just read the Huff Post article on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, human beings, and sleep. I hope that Arianna's take on things is not just wishful thinking and that governments and business will move toward being human rather than investor centered. As for sleep, it's interesting to me how this is at the center of concern about people. We think of food, clothing, shelter, clean water and air, but sleep? Good for her.


I spent a good deal of my life sleep deprived as did many of us at Zen Center. For me it started in grade school with a paper route and the joys of getting up early. In high school I'd often get four hours sleep, waking at four in the morning to read, write, do homework, listen to music (jazz and classical that early). Spent years at Tassajara getting four or five hours.  Staying awake in zazen and elsewhere was a major problem for many of us. Suzuki Roshi encouraged it. He said, "When you're tired, your ego is tired." He said it's best to get a little less than you want. I don't know about that anymore. [posting that in [DC Brief Memories of SR]

My sister is friends with a leading expert in sleep research, Jim Maas. Talking to him influenced me. Saw him a few years ago as he had moved to the Fort Worth area where I was with my mother quite a bit. He talked about the danger of allowing pilots to work too much without breaks. I remember us talking about how the head of the FAA was against air traffic controllers taking naps, said they should just drink more coffee. Really bad idea. I know from driving on little sleep that coffee doesn't compare to a brief nap for rejuvenating.  So for some years, I guess decades, I have not been sleep deprived. I sleep till I wake up. Mainly now I get seven hours which is below the eight minimum suggested, but I just can't do that. Sometimes get as few as five and rarely four - and sometimes nine and rarely ten. Some people are regular and some not. My sleep expert acquaintance talks like we're all the same but I haven't noticed that. Gosh I could keep going on this subject but that's enough for now. - dc