how did you sleep last night Have you slept lavishly, temperature and temperament aligned, waking with the sun? Or was it one of those stormy nights, dreams indistinguishable from wakefulness, tangled blankets, eyes on the clock?
Sleep is mysterious, although we try hard to minimize it. We use metaphors to describe it, diaries to track it, pharmaceuticals to manipulate it. I spent a good decade trying to find the perfect pillow.
As we age, our needs for sleep change. The forces working against our undisturbed seven to nine hours are multiplying. In my 20s, I decided that if I was going to lead a full and exciting life, I would have to be comfortable working exhausted. This seemed, at the time, like a viable model. I didn’t think much about sleep. I thought about waking life, about making the most of it as possible, with only short pit stops to refuel. I would stay out late, barely sleep, wake up with the alarm a few hours later.
“By definition, if you use an alarm clock to wake up, then you’re chronically oversleeping,” Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula, a sleep specialist at Penn Medicine, told The Times’ Dani Blum. If you get enough sleep, you will wake up naturally when you rest.
Now, in middle age, I am determined to rely on an alarm only when I catch an early flight. Bedtime is sacred, and violating it requires a PowerPoint deck outlining risks and rewards and return on investment. I’m always doing calculations now, talking about sleep as if it were currency, feeling always in short supply, hungry for more. “The sleeper debt collectors are coming,” Oliver Whang wrote in The Times last year. “They want you to know that there is no such thing as forgiveness, only a changing expectation of how and when you will repay them.”
I’ve been asking people recently about how well they sleep. Their answers are complicated. Although we know that we need to practice good sleep hygiene to be healthy and efficient, I still notice a perverse hint of pride when people tell me that they don’t sleep well, as if they are the noble sentinels of society, all night long. . scanning the darkness for predators. Those who say they sleep well are a little shy, as if their easy rest shows a too coddled mind, too simple a life. One person said of sleep in adulthood, “I just love sleep more now than I ever have. Does that make sense?”
I knew exactly what they meant. The older I get, the more grateful I am for whatever sleep I can get. I miss the nightly mop-up, the “taking out the trash” that happens in the brain while the body is out. A quick nap works like restarting a computer; my system is down, so I pass out and then I wake up for a short period, purged of unnecessary data. I miss what Walt Whitman called “free flight into the wordless, / Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done.”
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
President Biden will deliver cluster munitions to Ukraine, breaking with Western allies who oppose the weapons. He called the decision difficult but necessary because Ukraine lacks ammunition.
The Pentagon said the cluster munitions it sent have been improved to reduce the risk to civilians, but they still contain old shells that fail at high velocities.
The U.S. added more jobs last month, continuing a 30-month streak. But the number of new jobs was lower than in past months, a sign that the labor market is cooling.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, has announced that he will resign after his ruling coalition broke down over a dispute over how to deal with migrants.
The gunman in the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting, a self-described white nationalist, was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences for hate crimes.
A giant patch of foul-smelling algae in the Gulf of Mexico that threatened Florida’s beaches shrank by 75 percent last month.
🎥 “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Wednesday): It’s a little hard to keep track of how many movies there are in this Tom Cruise action spy series, because they stopped using numbers in the titles after the third installment. But we are now on the seventh film, which is itself the first of two parts. (Did you get it? Yes?) And if you haven’t already seen the stunt where Cruise drives his motorcycle off the side of the mountain, then please show me the cave you’ve been hanging out in, because I’d love to go. there and rest my eyes.
📺 “Bluey” (Wednesday): In an amusing piece arguing for the modern “dad canon” (Crocod, weed, wife-man), The Times called Bandit, the canine patriarch of this Australian cartoon, “a textured representation of responsible modern fatherhood.” So it’s time to throw the dad signal! Ten new episodes appear on Disney+.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Tomato and Peach Salad
I am a summer tomato fanatic, and I firmly believe that there is no better use for them than in a juicy, vibrant salad. Alexa Weibel makes that salad just a little fancy dotting it with peaches and adding a bed of whipped goat cheese, a tangy answer to the sweetness of the fruit. The presentation is beautiful, and the recipe is not difficult to make – all the more reason to seize the moment.
The hunt: A couple of longtime renters were looking for an apartment on the West Side of Manhattan. Who did they choose? Play our game.
NYC galleries: Check out Edgar Calel’s solo show.
Visit the Azores: Find earth, water, fire and air — sometimes all at once.
Check out: These are the best movies and shows on Hulu right now.
Travel like a rich man: Visit Napa Valley without spending too much.
WIRING MAN’S TIP
In Defense of Cheap Sunglasses
Summer is all about feeling carefree. So why spend it tied to a pair of expensive sunglasses that you’re constantly worried about misplacing or breaking? After bagging a few expensive designer pairs in my youth – and losing them at the bottom of the ocean or leaving them on airplanes – I’ve become a huge fan of Sungait Vintage Round sunglasses, the cheapest of all Wirecutter’s cheap sunglasses options. . They’re durable, they’re stylish, and they’re under $20. Grab a pair (or two) and lose the summer stress. — Rose Maura Lorre
US Women’s Open: The stage could not have been set more perfectly for Rose Zhang. After two NCAA titles at Stanford, Zhang turned pro in May and promptly won her first event. She arrived at Pebble Beach this week already owning the course record, nine-under-par, which she shot in college. “Golf was waiting for Rose Zhang,” Brendan Quinn of The Athletic wrote. 3 pm Eastern, today and tomorrow, on NBC.