You can sleep when you’re dead!

This article first appeared in the Herald Sun

You can sleep when you’re dead. He will drink you under the table. You snooze you lose. She can really hold her drink.

All catchcries of the modern-day gladiator. Genetically superior humans who go hard and rarely go home, and leave mere mortals like myself crumpled at their feet and looking up in awe.

The legend of excess on little rest is repeated often. Winston Churchill won a war while sloshed, David Boon drank 52 cans on a flight between Sydney and London, and Andre the Giant drank 100 beers in 45 minutes. While Margaret Thatcher, Donald Trump, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are all lauded for averaging only four hours of sleep.

It is undisputed scientific fact, however, that one night of excessive drinking or insufficient sleep dramatically increases your chances of getting sick, into an accident, out of a relationship, eating poorly, seeing shadow people, and believing in infomercials.

Long-term lack of sleep or alcohol over-consumption are proven to cause cancer, kill braincells, and make you fat, sad, and stupid, all leading to a premature and painful death.

How much sleep isn’t enough? It varies, but most of us need seven to eight hours, one in three adults don’t get enough, and dogs and cats get way more than everyone, yet we’re still the ones picking up after them.

With alcohol, the maximum recommended is around six pints of beer per week, for men and women, and just like you can’t catch up on sleep, if you don’t drink for a month, that doesn’t mean twenty-four pints in a day is okay.

If someone were to boast that they don’t drink and consistently get eight hours of shut-eye, would you view them as healthy and hearty, or boring and lazy? They sound like a person who might outlive all their friends, if they had any.

As a society, we applaud feats of excess that are scientifically proven to make our lives harder and shorter, but nobody is impressed by looking after yourself and doing a good job. Trash yourself and still do okay though, and you’re a champion.

It’s as if our bodies are high performance vehicles, and we prove its durability and extreme limits by repeatedly testing them.

A good night’s sleep is as important as eating healthy and exercising, but we’ve come to view any minute we’re not awake as waste. Down half a slab a night and survive on four hours of sleep, however, and you’re both fun and efficient.

It’s going to take a group effort to combat this rampant epidemic of stupidity. So, next time anyone brags to you of their alcoholism and wakefulness, don’t be impressed. Instead, hand them a cup of caffeine free dandelion tea and suggest they lie down for a bit.

This article first appeared in the Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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