The Sweet Silence of Sleep

By Jin-yeong Yi

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When I was in high school, I used to wonder why there were people who enjoyed sleeping during the day. I was–and still am–the type of person who rarely had trouble filling in his free hours. Whether it was reading a good book, playing a good computer game, practicing the guitar, or studying languages, there was always something I found worth doing. Sleep was so…boring, mundane. I mean, it certainly felt good–I enjoyed the sensation of dozing off–but it was hardly productive. What’s so great about lying in bed doing nothing–during the day, no less–when there is so much to explore, to strive for, to accomplish? …Especially considering that sleep consumes nearly an entire third (think about that for a moment) of one’s life.

After many years, I’ve finally realized why one would value sleep as an end in itself. The reason is quite obvious: it’s the same reason why people value death: there’s peace to be found in it. Dreamless sleep is a taste of death. How often can the average person find genuine peace and quiet in modern society–indeed, anywhere? When we aren’t being disturbed by other people, we are distracted by our worries about the future. In other words, we are constantly plagued by noise, both external and internal. Sleep cancels all of that out in a way that nothing else, even the best music or meditation, can. Unconsciousness brings about a peace that is so profound, so absolute, that it precludes even the awareness of it. And, as it doesn’t cost half a cent, even the most destitute can avail themselves of it.


3 thoughts on “The Sweet Silence of Sleep

  1. […] The Sweet Silence of Sleep ( […]

  2. Gary says:

    You’re so right about sleep being the closest thing to death. Living with depression, sleep is my most treasured passtime or hobby. I can never seem to get enough of it and, when I’m awake, I’m always counting down the time till I get get back to bed and sleep. It’s my refuge.

    • Jin-yeong Yi says:

      The parallels between sleep and death are so natural that it’s uncanny.

      I feel that, along with good dreams, sleep is one of our chief consolations–a gift from sympathetic Gods who find pathos in the human condition.

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