April 9, 2017

"Companies now fight 'presenteeism,' a neologism that describes the lackluster performance of foggy-brained, sleep-deprived employees..."

"... with sleep programs like Sleepio, an online sleep coach, and sleep fairs, like the one hosted last month in Manhattan by Nancy H. Rothstein, director of Circadian Corporate Sleep Programs and otherwise known as the Sleep Ambassador, for LinkedIn. For the last few years, Ms. Rothstein has been designing sleep education and training programs for a number of Fortune 500 companies. At the LinkedIn sleep fair, she taught attendees how to make a bed (use hospital corners, please) and gave out analog alarm clocks.... Sleep entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and beyond have poured into the sleep space, as branders like to say — a $32 billion market in 2012 — formerly inhabited by old-style mattress and pharmaceutical companies.... [T]he best sleep I’ve had in weeks cost $22, and lasted 33 minutes. It was a Deep Rest 'class”' at Inscape, a meditation studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan designed by Winka Dubbeldam, the sought-after Dutch architect, to evoke the temple at Burning Man, and other esoteric spaces, and created by Khajak Keledjian, a founder, with his brother, Haro, of Intermix, which they sold to the Gap for $130 million in 2013."

From "Sleep Is the New Status Symbol" in the "Fashion & Style" section of the NYT.

I didn't realize there was so much commercial marketing of sleep. You could almost call it — like "Big Pharma" — "Big Sleep."

But "the big sleep" is death:


Good thing there aren't death entrepreneurs flooding the market with products to help us on our way.

But maybe there are, and they're just doing such a subtle selling job, overcoming our resistance.

57 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

"'We are the death merchant of the world': Ex-Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson condemns military-industrial complex."

Original Mike said...

"Good thing there aren't death entrepreneurs flooding the market with products to help us on our way."

What's the average price of a funeral?

John said...

Hospital corners? Really?

They've never heard of fitted sheets?

John Henry

mockturtle said...

Ann, your writing is infinitely better than that of the NYT. Why rely on them so much?

exiledonmainstreet said...


"I didn't realize there was so much commercial marketing of sleep."

From what I understand, for the best night's sleep in the whole wide world you need My Pillow.com.

Ann Althouse said...

"What's the average price of a funeral?"

Well, that's a different category of commerce, disposing of the body and caring for the bereaved.

I was thinking only of the bodily process of dying — equivalent to sleeping, how to get to sleep.

Sleep entrepreneurs are seeing a market opportunity in this physical need we have. Unlike food — and we need to eat and sleep — sleep can be done without buying anything, but you'll probably want at least a bed.

Death is very different. It seems weird to think of our bodies needing to die, the way we easily think of our bodies as needing to eat and sleep. But once something is perceived as a need, then products could be marketed to help satisfy the need.

The need to dispose of dead bodies is clearly recognized. It's a sensitive subject, and actually it is hard to get aggressive marketing body-disposal methods.

But products and services aimed at moving the body along in dying... that would be a new area of entrepreneurship.

glenn said...

You Boomers sure fall for a lot of hustles don't you?

Georgia Lawyer said...

Death is Mother Nature's way of telling you to slow down.

tim in vermont said...

Retired, lost 30lbs of programmer's spread, and suddenly I sleep great.

Fernandinande said...

Try this one weird trick!

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, your writing is infinitely better than that of the NYT. Why rely on them so much?"

Thanks. I need subjects to write about, many each day. Where else would I get them? I have some other regular sources, but the NYT is great at putting a lot of variety out there.

I've been blogging for 13+ years and I've always found the NYT works best for me. It's even the home page in my browser, and it has been in multiple computers for more than 20 years.

I've never been too interested, as a blogger, in starting with what other bloggers are saying. I start with news reports and come up with my own things to say. When I first started blogging, I had the nagging feeling that that was doing it wrong (mainly because that's not the way Instapundit does it). But it came naturally to me and I couldn't break myself of that approach even when I tried. Other than Instapundit, I'm really not much of a reader of blogs.

But the NYT... I am a reader of the NYT and have been for half a century. Before there was the web, I had the NYT delivered in Wisconsin, beginning when I first moved here in 1984. I would sit with the paper Times and read it every morning. I continued to the the paper delivered, even long after it could be read on line, because I felt I could see the news better with the big pages laid out on the dining table. When I added blogging to my morning routine in 2004, it was an amplification of my morning ritual of reading the NYT. I read the paper Times and hand wrote a list of things I wanted to write about before I moved over to where I had an iMac connected to a modem. Later I had a laptop with me at the dining table to blog as I went along in the paper NYT. In the end, I stopped delivery on the paper version, and I do my morning blogging at a desktop computer, but the homepage is the NYT, and I get my best prompts to start writing by reading The New York Times.

If you like this blog, this is what you are liking. Even if you hate the NYT.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Good thing there aren't death entrepreneurs flooding the market with products to help us on our way.

We have the next best thing! Mature industry lobbyists who will kill/maim/incapacitate us slowly through the slow poisoning we can enjoy from their products!

I'm sure that's worth something.

robother said...

"to sleep, perchance to dream...aye, there's the rub!"

Unknown said...

Don't forget https://tinyurl.com/3cjov

Carol said...

Maybe they should just cut down on all the espresso, Rockstar, Red Bull, diet Coke, etc.

Would the modern world fall apart?

Unknown said...

It's another boondoggle, like wellness programs. Enroll in a wellness program to tell you what you should be doing to stay well, or to pay for the exercise you could be doing without enrolling in the program. It makes money for the hospital (or whatever) that offers the program. Give a client an insurance break for enrolling to kick back more money to the "health care providers". The next step is mandatory enrollment. Watch there be an incentive for these programs that teach us how to sleep.

khesanh0802 said...

Ann, I suggest the WSJ as another source although their reporting is a little less slanted, thus harder to make fun of. Of course you are correct that the NYT covers arcane and " who cares" stuff more often making for better fodder for the blog.

Brian said...

There are plenty of death entrepreneurs. The Hemlock Society folks get positively aroused by the prospect of death, and try their best to make it happen. Most people who call themselves "medical ethicists" get cash for causing deaths.

southcentralpa said...

If this is targeted to Millenials, there's two fairly simple points:

1) You can't soar with the eagles if you're up with the owls.

2) Turn off your screens a(t least a)half-hour before you want to be asleep.

Both of which feed into the chronic fear of *missing something* (the horror). Don't you have a tag for that?

Unknown said...

This is butt head stupid. Managers,how about not having your employees working 20 hour days high pressure projects with artificial deadlines ? Working stiffs in transportation have hours of service rules to prevent greedy people with stupid managers from killing the rest of us. How about rules to protect enterprises from stupid managers with exhausted, burned out drones babbling in front of the Power Point ?

John said...

Ann,

I would not think of them as "entrepreneurs" but what about hospices? They are in the "business" (if it is a business in a normal sense) of easing terminally ill people through the passage from life to death.

I think they serve a pretty useful purpose from the little I know about them.

Hemlock society, Dr Kervorkian and his likes, seem different, Brian. They seem to want to speed the process and perhaps even initiate it. But yes, entrepreneurs. Just because they are non-profit doesn't mean that they don't make a lot of money for their principals. SPLC is one good example though a different business.

John Henry

SMURF said...

This is butt head stupid. Managers,how about not having your employees working 20 hour days high pressure projects with artificial deadlines ? Working stiffs in transportation have hours of service rules to prevent greedy people with stupid managers from killing the rest of us. How about rules to protect enterprises from stupid managers with exhausted, burned out drones babbling in front of the Power Point ?

Laslo Spatula said...

Humlaut LeBlanc Fashion Icon of Fabulous...

I am so very excited to show my new line: Final Day Clothing. People, they tell me: Humlaut, isn't Death unfashionable? I tell them it IS Unfashionable, if you are unfashionably old. But the Young... they can die with Panache. Death is the Ultimate Dramatic Moment, and to die Fabulous: who could want more...?

A lot of suicidal people just wear their everyday clothing to commit their act. How mundane! I say: Dress for the Occasion. My Final Day Clothing Lines provide many options for making your Death a Fabulous Fashion Statement...

For those who decide to hang themselves, they can choose from my designs modeled after the lynchings of Black Men in the South. When I studied the archives I was surprised how the clothing those lynched Black Men wore so perfectly captured a spirit of timelessness, and the my clothing looks Fabulous in Black-and-White...

For those who gas themselves in the garage with the motor running I have my designs inspired by the Jews in the German Concentration camps. Sensible stripes that slim the figure are ALWAYS in Fashion...

For those who shoot themselves in the Head I have my Ernest Hemingway-inspired wear, capturing late Thirtie's Key West with Elan...

Remember: Fashion Speaks. So when you know you are going to die, don't just lie there: Make a Statement in Fabulous...

I am Humlaut LeBlanc, and I Believe in Fabulous…

I am Laslo.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Death with dignity laws are progressing through the legislature in my state.
I heard a pro-death :) lobbyist use the euphemism "bounded life," as in "a person living a bounded life should be able to choose the circumstances of his or her passing."
What the heck does she think that all of us are? Super-hero immortals?

Danno said...

AA said..."If you like this blog, this is what you are liking. Even if you hate the NYT."

I appreciate your wide variety of topics, and do not like the vibe I get from the NYT. Maybe it is the reason you have a cynical viewpoint at times. After reading all of their Coastie libtard groupthink, I certainly would be cynical all of the time.

mockturtle said...

Oh, and Laslo, don't forget the classic Cleopatra look for women. Especially women with asps to grind.

exiledonmainstreet said...

As I mentioned over on Laslo's blog, I am looking forward to Humlaut LeBlanc's "Dressed to Kill" line.

mockturtle said...

Danno remarks: I appreciate your wide variety of topics, and do not like the vibe I get from the NYT. Maybe it is the reason you have a cynical viewpoint at times. After reading all of their Coastie libtard groupthink, I certainly would be cynical all of the time.

Yes. NYC is NOT [drum roll, please] the center of the universe. It has long ago lost the cachet they once enjoyed and the NYT [as well as the New Yorker] has reflected the sad decline.

mockturtle said...

It once enjoyed.

Michael K said...

In the end, I stopped delivery on the paper version, and I do my morning blogging at a desktop computer, but the homepage is the NYT, and I get my best prompts to start writing by reading The New York Times.

Eventually, I got tired of the left wing bias and cancelled my subscription. I discovered I could not get rid of it until I finally cancelled the credit card I had used for the subscription. It was like an alien attack to get rid of;

exiledonmainstreet said...

In one of his books, Christopher Buckley has a millennial government employee come up with a plan for getting the Baby Boomers off of Social Security - by offering them euthanasia, but with great drugs. Her reasoning is that boomers will not be able to resist the lure of one last really great high.

"Hey, it's '69 and I'm at Max Yasgur's farm, grooving to Santana! I finally made it to Woodstock!"

YoungHegelian said...

@SMURF,

This is butt head stupid. Managers,how about not having your employees working 20 hour days high pressure projects with artificial deadlines ? Working stiffs in transportation have hours of service rules to prevent greedy people with stupid managers from killing the rest of us. How about rules to protect enterprises from stupid managers with exhausted, burned out drones babbling in front of the Power Point ?

Because when you've got employees on salary, every minute you can work them over 40 hours is money in the company's pocket, that's why. Corporate greed I can understand. Greed is always easy to understand. But, what I don't understand is why the employees at these companies develop this ball-busting macho attitudes of "I can't get by on 6 hours of sleep." "Me, man, I can get by on four!" Working at Apple or Google is not such a wonderful experience that your life should get reduced to working & then a little sleep!

As you point out, certain industries are regulated by law as to how much sleep employees must get. Not IT, sadly. So, the rest of us deal with buggy software & poor software design.

Roughcoat said...

I once worked for a publishing company that I will not name, Publications International in Lincolnwood, IL, that typically had us working long, long hours seven days a week. It didn't matter, the books we put out were shitty anyway.

buwaya said...

I always thought the ultimate in suicide gear would be an exploding hat, with a small shaped charge in it. Also, for cleanup it should be made rather like a motorcycle helmet with a kevlar liner. Certain and neat.

ALP said...

Ann's keen eye in posting Most Ridiculous NYT Articles (especially from the Style section) is one of the reasons I come to this blog. You see, she reads it so I don't have to. I can only afford extreme eye rolling on an occasional basis.

My partner and I, long fans of a good night's sleep, are rolling on the floor with laughter at this article. Who knew we were on the leading edge with our insistence of a solid 8 hours? And even more - up to 10 - in the winter when riding public transportation with a bunch of people with the flu and you can't shake that feeling you are coming down with something. Sleep people, its where its at! My god, the ability of over-educated elitists to make much of a simple thing like sleep!

The Cracker Emcee said...

We are so rich it's ridiculous. Literally!

buwaya said...

Slow poisons like smoking are the best kinds, they almost always get you after your productive years. Smoking is a very economically productive practice. Nicotine is a great if mild drug, it helps productivity, reducing fatigue, aiding concentration and improving mood, all without immediate cognitive cost.
And, eventually, by reducing burdens on pension systems and old age medical care, as well as recycling assets away from rent-generation to support a retired generation to the new, active entrepreneurial generation.

Inga said...

"Hospital corners? Really?

They've never heard of fitted sheets?"

There's the top sheet that gets tucked under the matress at the foot end of the bed that could use a nice neat hospital corner. Also, if you take an iPad or other device to bed with you, turn on the "night shift" lighting which is a softer, yellow based light as opposed to the blue light of a daytime/regular screen light. The blue light supposedly messes with melatonin.

Why is blue light before bedtime bad for sleep?

Inga said...

The NYTs and WaPo as well as the New Yorker, Bloomberg all good publications. I check in on Memorandum several times a day for breaking news and to see what's going on with the other publications.

William said...

After a recent dental amputation, I took OxyContin. I've had better highs. but I did have a deep, satisfying sleep. I wonder how many addicts are simply looking for a good night's sleep........That said, a good night's sleep is not the greatest good that life can provide. That's the function of an afternoon nap. I know of no greater sensual pleasure, but my view might be conditioned by age. When I was younger, I think there might have been other things with a higher priority than sleep.. But that just goes to show how foolish young people are.

William said...

Cleopatra probably didn't commit suicide by asp. When you stop to think about it, that's a problematic way of leaving this life. Asps have varying levels of venom and would probably slither away if given half a chance. Look at all the snake handlers. Many of them survive well into middle age. Augustus probably had her killed, but, for political expediency, put out a suicide story.

Roughcoat said...

This issue reminds me of articles in the early to mid 60s addressing the concern of too much leisure time and how we were going to fill it. I remember seeing what seemed to a lot of those articles back then. Also alarmist articles on the coming ice age.

walter said...

William said... I took OxyContin. I've had better highs. but I did have a deep, satisfying sleep. I wonder how many addicts are simply looking for a good night's sleep
-
With Oxy, it appears a more common side effect is difficulty sleeping. But there's always the possibility of "paradoxical responses"...like what I get with Tylenol PM.
I went through a horrible period years ago after a GP gave me an rx for a benzo to help with sleep. I ended up trying lateral rx to get off those only to have dependency on the replacement. Eventually, I had to take a couple days off and cold turkey out of it. It's far easier to get on the train than off.

Yancey Ward said...

I guess I have always been lucky- getting enough sleep has rarely been a problem for me. I am definitely a night owl by nature, but I never had a problem adjusting to more normal schedule when I had to.

walter said...

If you want a more conspiratorial label regarding death merchants, you might choose "Deep Sleep".

southcentralpa said...

As a commenter noted, fitted sheets are an answer to hospital corners for the bottom, but they can also be for the top sheet, as anyone who has been in boot camp can attest.

I wonder if the "seminars" also punish them if they have the "catch-edge" up ... ?

traditionalguy said...

Some Austrian guy started to interpret dreams as our unconscious mind, and its been all downhill since then.

buwaya said...

To be fair Roughcoat, the labor force participation rate for men 25-54 in particular has fallen a great deal, and is a long way from recovery - or not at all really. So a large number are indeed getting more leisure.

Its interesting that this was one of the stats that Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase called out in his 2017 Shareholder letter - look it up, its interesting for many reasons, though not much in it would be new to us here. The fact that Dimon issued such a pessimistic letter now, and not in 2016, with the same trends prevailing, suggests that the code of corporate omerta may be weakening. It amounts to something that the Trump team could have issued along with DJT's "dark" convention speech.

Carol said...

I took OxyContin. I've had better highs. but I did have a deep, satisfying sleep

I was prescribed both Tramadol and Percocet last year, and was surprised how much the stuff woke me up. It was more like mild speed than the soporific I expecting. Sadly, I went out and spent a lot of money on new furniture and appliances. Well, we needed it anyway.

Now I'm back to my usual parsimonious funk.

tim in vermont said...

he NYTs and WaPo as well as the New Yorker, Bloomberg all good publications. I check in on Memorandum several times a day for breaking news and to see what's going on with the other publications. - Inga

I'm sure the job of full time internet troll with multiple sock puppets takes a lot of work.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It must be a pain in the ass to manage people who don't know how to adult to.the point where they have to be told how to sleep.

urbane legend said...

buwaya said...
I always thought the ultimate in suicide gear would be an exploding hat, with a small shaped charge in it. Also, for cleanup it should be made rather like a motorcycle helmet with a kevlar liner. Certain and neat.

What a great idea. It needs to come with a timer/activator. You set it, but it goes off on its own decision, maybe based on brain waves.

I want to die like my grandad, quietly in my sleep. Not screaming in terror like everyone else in the car.

Fernandinande said...

William said...
Cleopatra probably didn't commit suicide by asp.


Cleopatra committed suicide by holding a beast to her ass.

John said...

Blogger southcentralpa said...

As a commenter noted, fitted sheets are an answer to hospital corners for the bottom, but they can also be for the top sheet, as anyone who has been in boot camp can attest.

I was in boot camp (great Lakes) in 67. Navy didn't use top sheets then. Didn't use them on shop or anywhere else that I was, either. Just wrap yourself in the itchy blanket.

Tightly tucked bottom sheet your your blanket is folded in a neat square with one side folded down on a diagonal. "Chief, why is it folded like this?" "Because that's the Navy way, you maggot!"

We've never used a top sheet at home, either.

In hotels I don't like the way a top sheet confines my feet so I always untuck. I'm with George. I like to swish and swirl:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl3HcIXvIo0

John Henry

John said...

Well, not with George. I am always either alone or with my wife.

I agree with George.

John Henry

Freeman Hunt said...

Funeral homes have catalogs for urns. The catalogs contain lots of bereavement clip art. The idea of bereavement clip art is funny, but the funeral home man will give you a stern look if you laugh.

Months later his marketing department will earnestly email out a recipe for barbecue ribs. You will laugh, but the funeral home man will not be there to give you a stern look. He will probably be off somewhere eating ribs and licking his fingers.

Freeman Hunt said...

How much training could you possibly need for sleep? I bet the real problem is succumbing the temptation to stay online or on Netflix well past bedtime. Just turn it off. Problem solved.