To sleep, perchance to dream

Marc Gurstein and IKEA furniture

I have discovered an additional element of full time work. It concerns what might be called a Wakefulness Index (WI): a notional figure representing one’s ability to concentrate and think creatively at any point in time. The index has natural oscillations; for me, it probably peaks in the afternoon and evening (insofar as work related thinking is concerned). Of greater personal policy importance is what might be called wakefulness forcing, the undertaking of behaviours and actions that alter one’s wakefulness index during subsequent hours or days.

Such behaviours encompass everything from the micro (a particular decision regarding caffeine consumption) to the macro (the selection of an overall sleep regime). All this seems clear to me right now because of one of the major choices that frequently needs to be made, in regard to wakefulness. That is, the decision of whether to use leisure time (especially weekends) for the purpose of increasing your index (resting, but not doing much else) or decreasing it, but having a lot more fun.

It is a classic biological trade-off like, for instance, the balance between time spent looking for food and time spent looking for a mate. Like all such balances, there are multiple stable equilibria and a near infinite number of ways to shift between them. In the interest of overall balance, since yesterday and this morning were used as WI investments, I will have to draw down the account a bit tonight.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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