Le culte du sommeil

Passionnant papier du New Yorker sur le sommeil, dans lequel Zoë Heller démonte en bonne et due forme ce culte parfois débile que nous lui vouons (en décochant au passage quelques flèches bien méritées au bouquin d’Arianna Huffington sur le sujet).

« If we don’t continue to chip away at our collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success, we’ll never be able to restore sleep to its rightful place in our lives », Arianna Huffington wrote a couple of years ago, in her best-selling how-to guide « The Sleep Revolution ». […]

Although Huffington’s book has doubtless been helpful for many, her proselytizing leaves the misleading and slightly infuriating impression that sleep is a life-style choice, a free resource, available to all who care enough to make it a priority. It is a beguiling idea, that one might transform one’s sleep, and the rest of one’s life, with a few virtuous acts of renunciation—no electronics in the bedroom, no coffee after 2 P.M.—and a few dreamy self-care rituals involving baths and tea. But the fact that some of the leading indicators for poor sleep and sleep loss are low household income, shift work, food insecurity, and being African-American or Hispanic suggests that the quest for rest is not so simple. Huffington does acknowledge, in passing, that « the vicious cycle of financial deprivation also feeds into the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation, » but she goes on to note, piously, that « the more challenging our circumstances, the more imperative it is to take whatever steps we can to tap into our resilience to help us withstand and overcome the challenges we face. » The tone here is reminiscent of Mrs. Pardiggle, in « Bleak House », distributing improving literature to the slum-dwelling poor. Try telling the lady at the food bank that she should tap into her resilience and sleep her way to the top.