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Exploring the Allure of Superiority in Sleeplessness

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.

― Leonard Cohen

The above quote about insomnia and superiority touches on a rather intriguing concept. Let’s picture this – The world is asleep, dreaming peacefully, while you’re wide awake, staring at the ceiling, pondering life’s mysteries. At first glance, it might seem like a humorous take on insomnia, but diving deeper, it reveals a more profound psychological layer.

Insomnia, that frustrating inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, can indeed be a tormenting experience. When sleep eludes us, our minds wander through a myriad of thoughts. We might ponder our life choices, analyze our worries, or simply marvel at the silence of the night. In these solitary moments, there’s a tendency for our minds to search for reasons to justify this wakefulness.

The notion of feeling superior to the sleeping world during these sleepless nights hints at a sense of uniqueness or exceptionalism. It’s almost as if being awake while others slumber gives a feeling of being different, perhaps even special. This sense of ‘superiority’ is a psychological mechanism that helps cope with the frustration of insomnia. It offers a fleeting sense of control in an uncontrollable situation.

But let’s not overlook the inherent irony in this statement. While feeling superior might momentarily ease the discomfort of sleeplessness, it’s a fragile and illusory refuge. After all, sleep is a basic human need, and the inability to attain it isn’t a sign of superiority but rather a disturbance or imbalance.

Moreover, this ‘superiority’ might lead to feelings of isolation or loneliness. In a world where everyone around you seems to peacefully drift into dreamland while you battle wakefulness, it’s easy to feel disconnected. The more one embraces this sense of superiority, the farther they might drift from seeking help or finding solutions for their sleep troubles.

It’s essential to note that the quote doesn’t imply that those who struggle with insomnia are inherently arrogant or believe themselves superior to others. Rather, it sheds light on a coping mechanism, a mental construct that offers solace in the face of sleepless nights.

From a broader perspective, the quote might also prompt us to reflect on our societal glorification of busyness and productivity. In our fast-paced world, being awake while others sleep can be perceived as a chance to get ahead, to be more productive, or to accomplish more. However, this mindset often neglects the importance of rest and sleep in maintaining overall well-being and productivity.

In conclusion, this quote cleverly encapsulates the psychological dynamic of insomnia and the human tendency to seek comfort, even in the most challenging situations. While the sense of superiority might provide a fleeting sense of control, it’s crucial to recognize the underlying issues causing insomnia and address them with empathy and understanding, rather than clinging to a false sense of superiority.

Odusanya Adedeji

Odusanya Adedeji A., is a Licensed & Certified Clinical Psychologist whose domain of expertise cuts across management of specific mental health issues such as, Depression, PTSD, Anxiety & Anxiety related disorders, substance use disorder, etc

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