T Nation

Real Men Go to Sleep (Article)

The two largest time commitments for most adults on this planet â?? sleep and work â?? too often make uneasy bedfellows. The proliferation of nonstandard work schedules and, for many, the outright abandonment of schedules have made traditional daytime-weekday patterns less common. Approximately one in five American workers now functions under some variety of nonstandard schedule.

Meanwhile, about half of the nationâ??s night-shift workers sleep six hours or less per day. The demands of other unconventional arrangements, such as multiple job-holding and independent contracting, have also contributed to the sleep deprivation that plagues much of the workforce.


The primary message â?? sometimes implicit, often boastfully announced â?? is that extended sleeplessness represents a form of masculine strength, leaving those taking a moderate amount of rest as effeminate weaklings destined to lose out in fierce marketplace competition. As one corporate executive put it not long ago, â??Sleep is for sissies.â?? Senior partners in high-powered law firms ask striving young associates preparing for a big case whether they would rather sleep or win.

This dangerous attitude has come under mounting criticism. Journalist Edward Helmore captured the shifting climate of opinion at the dawn of the new millennium, dismissing Donald Trump (perhaps too hastily) as â??the last cheerleader of sleeplessnessâ?? and presenting as a substitute role model Albert Einstein, who dozed ten hours a day. An abundance of scientific findings, many from research sponsored by the military and NASA, has led many executives to abandon the quest to minimize sleep unreasonably. Some prominent figures, like Amazonâ??s Jeff Bezos, openly embrace and advocate a moderate alternative. Moreover, the growing ranks of proponents of work-life balance have tied male champions of heroic wakefulness to outmoded standards that took little or no account of time-consuming domestic duties.


That’s only a small part of the article. Interesting read, with some links to more interesting reads on the subject.

Interesting that they should list Jeff Bezos. I just read an article in the Guardian about how little sleep seasonal agency staff working at Amazon fulfillment centres get.

I suppose terms like “sleepless elite” only compound the point of view that sleep is for girly men. Personally I love it but can go without it if I have to.