A Blog Around The Clock

‘Insomnia: A Cultural History’

Book excerpt in today’s Wall Street Journal: Chapter 6: Wired:

It is likely that insomnia will increase with the expansion of the 24-hour economy into more and more lives, and more of each life, because wakefulness and the wired world go together. The more interconnected we are, the more we communicate, and the more we communicate, the more we rely on our interconnected powers of thinking. In addition to work, many of our leisure pursuits, while seemingly soporific, actually undermine the likelihood of restful sleep, from drinking alcohol to surfing the net to watching thrillers on late-night television. At the same time, these are often required to enable the passage between our increased workday and our decreased sleeping night to occur at all. In some cases, our leisure and workday activities may be conflated by medium — many of us use computers or mobile phones at work, and go on line or into text-mode for personal, leisure-related reasons as well. Or our sleeping times may be disrupted by shift work necessarily done while others sleep or in cognisance of the fact — as in the financial sector — that at any moment somewhere in the world the populace is working and awake, and that there is no time to lose in speculating upon its — or its capital’s — futures.

It is longish but worth your time.