The Current

Insomnia is pervasive and changing the way we live, says RM Vaughn

To sleep, perchance to dream? Not a chance for Canadian writer RM Vaughn and countless other insomniacs and sleepless citizens. We live, he says, in a culture of insomnia, where we celebrate those who say they can live on 4-hours sleep, and expect it from those of us who can't.
Writer RM Vaughn says our ceaselessly stimulating culture is turning us all into insomniacs, though some more than others. He's one of the some. (Alyssa L. Miller, Flickr cc)

As day gives way to night... most of us prepare for some replenishing rest and a good forty winks. But for others, it's a time of dread. The beginning of a battle that leaves them exhausted, yet unable to sleep.

"Mostly my insomnia revolves around OCD thoughts. Here's a sampling of things that keep me awake...Lock checking is big: Did I lock my bike, the building door, the apartment door, the shop door? I will get out of bed, put on clothes and check on all of these."- Testimonial in RM Vaughn's "Bright Eyed"

After a lifetime struggling with sleeplessness, the Canadian writer RM Vaughan has chronicled his own after-dark experiences... as well as what he calls our larger culture of insomnia. RM Vaughn's book is called "Bright Eyed: Insomnia and Its Cultures", and he was in Toronto.

Dr. Thanh Dang-Vu is a neurologist and sleep researcher affiliated with Concordia University, the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, and McGill University. He was in Montreal.

We want to hear from you about your experiences with sleep and sleeplessness. Do you feel you're living in an insomnia culture?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.