*in Metropolis because obscure song references are kinda my thing.
Actually, sleep is the weirdest thing ever. I mean, you lie down in a darkened room for hours, near-comatose and wildly hallucinating. And we have an extra room just for being comatose and hallucination. And an extra piece of furniture. And special clothing.
If you had to explain to someone who’s from a species that doesn’t sleep what sleep is you’d sound completely mad. “So… you’re telling me humans put on their special sleep clothes and go into their special sleep room, lie on a sleep slab and then just… what?”
Scientifically, sleep is very interesting, mostly because you can’t explain it. No one actually knows why we sleep, but most species on this planet do it. It’s useful for a number of things, that’s true. Relaxation. Improved healing. Slowed metabolism so you don’t starve while putting in your eight hours of hallucinating. You also go crazy if you don’t sleep. But all evidence to date seems to point to one simple answer: you fall asleep because you are tired. And then what? You also wake up tired, wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep instead of slugging over to your work place in your special work clothes with the biggest cup of choice caffeine known to humankind in hand.
So no one knows why we do it. We don’t have sufficient data to say if other species on other planets do it. All we know is: sleep is fucking awesome! Why else would you spend a third of your day in your sleep slab? It’s like holidaying with your brain. Granted, your brain can be fucking terrifying at times (killer clown in the tool shelf level of terrifying), but nevertheless.
Sleep is so important a huge part of our culture revolves around it. There is an entire industry dedicated to making mattresses and pillows and bed sheets. Articles over articles that tell you in five easy steps how to sleep better. Get more sleep in less hours! Pulled an all-nighter? When you’re over 25? You’re so badass! How are you not dead? Sleep is the first thing that gets axed when there is a lot of stuff to do and it always involves this great personal sacrifice because everyone knows that insufficient sleep is unhealthy. You sacrifice sleep, then you sacrifice food, it’s like paying tribute to an ancient god. One in a suit who holds your paycheck hostage, but nevertheless.
Personally, I love sleep. Forget about sleeper agents, I’m a sleeping agent. But I’m really bad at it. I’m an insomniac, for one, I cannot fall asleep before midnight, for another. It takes me hours to fall asleep. But when I sleep, I sleep. No alarm clock? See you in ten… hours. Or twelve. Better make it twelve. Nap? Hah, good one. I can’t take 20-30 minute naps like normal people. Not even 90 minute ones. Nope. I nap 3 hours or not at all. Why? Dunno. If I lie down in the afternoon I know I won’t see anything but whatever my crazy brain is cooking up until evening. I can’t lie down for 20 minute because 20 minutes turn into two hours, then I check the time, think “Fuuuuuck” and fall back into the pillows because 1) I’m tired as all hell, 2) it’s so fucking late anyway, why bother getting up?
Then of course there’s the entire waking up part, which is gruesome, because 1) NOISE!, 2) my brain always wakes up first but the body is somehow lagging behind. Like, I’m already making a list in my head, or planning a short story, or just having very deep and meaningful thoughts that may or may not involve donuts, but my body is like… “Okay, inventory: left arm, check. Right arm, check. Head, check, because the fucker is babbling again. Breasts, two, check. Stomach, check, empty. Bladder, check, full. Spleen, check, still there. Liver, check, whatever happened there? Left leg, check. Right leg… wait a minute… oh, there you are. Check. You can open the eyes, Jim. Jim? Oi, Jim! Dammit, can’t get any decent help around here these days, now I have to open them manually *exit stage left while muttering expletives*”
Or that’s how I imagine it anyway because by the gods if it doesn’t take me forever to physically get up. If I do end up sleeping I’m gone. If someone put a do-not-resuscitate order on me, I could take a nap and wake up in a morgue, scare the crap out of some pathologist. Might as well send a rescue team with emergency caffeine. Or just keep me from sleeping.
Seriously though, I woke up once to my care assistant soon-to-be-nurse Boyfriend checking my pulse. That’s how I sleep, motherfuckers. You think this is a game?