Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

If we look back, we realize that we live in a world full of luxury. Today we have objects that make life easier for us and that our grandparents could not even imagine. The industry manages to produce more and more things that promise to improve our lives even more, make us happier and more successful. Bombarded by a frenzy of stimuli, it is easy to forget and neglect the essential and necessary things in life, such as silence and sleep, two needs of the mind that are becoming a luxury.

The commodification of sleep

The idea has become established in the collective imagination that sleep deprivation is admirable and a sign of success, because it means that the person is very busy, probably turning his time into money. When we meet someone who tells us they don't have a free minute, we subconsciously assume that they are "successful". This phenomenon has reached such a level that in Tokyo people have begun to practice what is known as inemuri, which literally means "to be present while we sleep".

This practice emerged in the late 80s, amid the speculative economic bubble that was turning Japan into a great power. At that time, the Japanese had such an active working life that they had no time to sleep. Businessmen had 24-hour days, so they started practicing inemuri where they could, on public transport or at work, just to give their mind some rest while maximizing their time.

Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

However, to the extent that science better understands what happens during sleep, it warns us that this is essential for our physical and emotional health. During sleep, our brain re-processes the experiences lived during the day, reorganizes them in memory and subtracts emotional impact, this allows us to wake up the next day with a more objective perspective and a fresher mind.

It has also been found that during sleep the brain gets rid of metabolic waste products, these same substances that have been linked to the emergence of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Therefore, we can say that little and bad sleep poisons and shrinks our brains, literally.

The industry knows this, so companies that deal with the commodification of sleep are already appearing. There are companies that have special spaces where their employees can rest without leaving the office. And in the big cities, centers known as "nap bars" are born, such as Siesta & Go which is already present in over five major capitals of the world, where employees pay for a space in which to take a nap for a few hours.

Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

New applications are also emerging that promise to help us sleep, there are smart mattresses that "ensure" restful sleep, and they have even created sleep masks that control brain waves and REM states.

The problem is that all of these inventions are sold as gadgets to improve our performance and make us more effective in the workplace. Thus a vicious circle closes: technology and lifestyle have deprived us of sleep and now they sell us the specific technology so that we can sleep in order to continue to maintain the same lifestyle. Is absurd! Especially because to sleep better it would be enough just to learn to disconnect.

We must remember that sleeping badly, which does not only mean sleeping little but also sleeping in a noisy environment that causes continuous awakenings, causes illness, stress and bad mood. Some people are more resilient than others, but if you don't give your sleep the importance it deserves, it will end up costing you dearly in terms of health.

The tendency to prioritize money, thinking it can fix everything, is one of the worst mistakes you can make in life. We got rid of sleep for the benefit of other dreams: success, having more and more, the dream of being better ... I don't think we will win this choice.

How did they silence us?

Our world is governed by the economy, whether we like it or not. So we think the best thing to do is to earn more and more, but that doesn't mean getting better. However, in the rush to produce more revenue, we have filled our space with noisy objects and technology that disrupt natural sleep and wake cycles. Thus, silence too has become a luxury product.

Silence has always been valued and noise hated. A long time ago, in Sibari, artisans whose work was noisy were forced to live outside the city walls. But today we live and work in noisy cities full of objects that obviously leave a sonic imprint.

Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

Meanwhile, the industry takes it upon itself to turn silence into an advertising lure, selling silent appliances at almost prohibitive prices that you can only pay if you sleep less and work more. American Airlines, for example, markets its "Admirals Club" by making an association between luxury, success and silence. “Enter our Admirals Club, an oasis of peace away from the chaos of the airport. Relax in a quiet and luxurious atmosphere ". And they are not the only ones, Finland, for example, is advertised as a tourist destination where silence reigns.

Silence and sleep: Two needs of the mind that have become a luxury

However, like sleep, our mind also needs silence. Numerous studies have shown that people who live in noisy places or have jobs where they are exposed to high noise levels have more health problems, run a higher risk of suffering from hypertension, heart problems and psychological disorders. Furthermore, it has been found that silence promotes the growth of new neurons and generates a state of relaxation that is very beneficial both physically and mentally.

Silence is also essential for personal growth, peace and relaxation are essential for the proper functioning of the mind. According to Buddhism, the natural state of mind emerges when we cultivate silence, while noise and agitation take us away from ourselves. Paradoxically, silence can also scare us as it encourages us to connect with ourselves, and this is why many people turn on the TV or listen to music constantly, to escape silence and themselves.

However, when one learns to enter the "zone of silence", one will notice that it is a source of not only relaxation but also effortless concentration and activity, the Taoist Wu Wei. Inner silence allows us to observe phenomena without identifying with them, so it is ideal for learning to enjoy the here and now, it helps us to better connect with ourselves and the world around us.

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