Quartz: Sleep deprivation has become the trendy new cause of the uber-wealthy
A 2013 Gallup poll reported that 40% of Americans are not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Eager capitalists have quickly recognized this hole, swooping in with new products and new slogans and new ironies. Today, we’re being sold everything from digital gadgets to celebrity-endorsed mattresses to help us sleep better and longer. Bizarre attempts to commodify a basic and essentially free human necessity only serve to highlight how troubled our lives have become.
For the past month, for example, media mogul Arianna Huffington has been aggressively peddling her new book, The Sleep Revolution. A successful capitalist, Huffington has been praised and criticized in equal measure for the labor practices that built her massive online empire. Now, the media mogul turned lifestyle guru is hoping to sell us something that is free under the guise of luxury.
In The Sleep Revolution, Huffington observes we are collectively experiencing a global “sleep crisis,” abetted, no doubt, by the extant digital culture which demands that we be plugged in 24/7. Oddly, she suggests this crisis is tied to an individual desire to make money, rather than the interests of employers attempting to maximize the efforts of their employees. In an interview with ThinkProgress, she went a step further, blaming a masculine workplace culture that believes bragging about a lack of sleep indicates dedication: “I think it starts with men using it as a symbol of virility almost. But then a lot of women who think it’s how to get ahead in the workplace have adopted it. It seems primarily a machismo thing, like whose is bigger?”