I know I have argued before in favor of sloth and leisure. Today I am going to do the opposite. I am going to ask the musical question, “What could we do if we didn’t have to sleep?”

Those extra eight hours would come in real handy for, oh, say a full-time job. Then you would still have sixteen hours left over for almost anything you can name.

Think of it. If we didn’t have to sleep, we would have twenty-four hours instead of a measly sixteen in which to accomplish all of our most treasured goals – and still have time to goof off. With an extra eight hours a day, every woman could be a Martha Stewart. We could make our own lamps, grow our own prize-winning tomatoes, design and create our own clothing, and even raise the kids all by ourselves, instead of having to call in a professional nanny.

Or you could live pretty much the way you do now (minus the sleep), and save up all those extra hours for vacation. You would suddenly have time to travel. And you would have the money to travel, too, because by saving up your extra hours every day and working, you would accumulate overtime like mad. Then every six months you could take a cruise or fly to Fiji.

With an extra eight hours a day you would have time to resolve all your differences with friends and family. When a conflict arose, you would have the time to put your life on hold, sit down with the person in question, and chase down every argument to its logical conclusion. (Presumably, they would too, since they’re not sleeping, either).

Think of this: If you didn’t have to sleep you would have time to go back to school or do an Internet course and finally get that degree you’ve always dreamed of. You could learn a foreign language. Or maybe you would finally have the time to write the Great American Novel. Finally, you could go to the gym five times a week and really get in shape.

With an extra eight hours a day, you might volunteer for a worthy cause. You might build houses for Habitat for Humanity or go to work for the Peace Corps. You might teach literacy or become a child’s mentor.

What a waste it is to sleep, when we could be so much more constructive! But of course, we mere mortals must have our down time so that our bodies and our minds can be refreshed and revived. (Sigh).

I heard a statistic the other day that stunned me. The average American household spends seven hours a day in front of the TV. It’s not quite eight, but then, a lot of people only sleep seven hours, and the result is pretty much the same. So what if. . .? Just a thought.

© 2005, Robin Munson

 Category: Robin's Nest

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