Monday, November 8, 2010
I could probably just say, "See #5 Addictions" and get away with it, but that doesn't do sleep-addiction justice. One aspect is, of course, an addiction like any other. You know, escaping life and creating your own world. But sleep is a basic human function, and therefore able to be screwed up very early in development. An interesting (and pretty widely accepted) theory is that sleep reminds children of the womb. This makes it a natural place to escape to when faced with overwhelming hostility.
More importantly, though; since sleep, like eating, is an inborn desire (and, parenthetically, therefore the foundation of an individual's identity), it is also one of the earliest ways people exert their own control over their environment, i.e. by choosing when to sleep and eat, and when not to. When they are later denied control over their own life in other areas, they can revert to sleep - and food, and defecation - to exert their control and thereby relieve the anxiety. (A fun caveat here is that if these things are denied at an early age, for example by forcing a child to eat past when it denies food or by forcing it to stay up or go to sleep- with enough regularity to prove to the child that they are out of it's control- you can be successful in introducing a host of interesting neuroses). This over-dominance by parents is also very useful in developing poor impulse control- as delaying gratification now causes existential anxiety- Addictive personalities, and pathological Narcissism. On the plus side, dreams are pretty sweet. Except when they try to tell you things in a creepy way. Intrusive subconscious assholes.
Btw: I couldn't find any good sleeping pictures, but I did find this one, which I'm sure you'll admit, is awesome.