JUNE 2, 2020

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The right to sleep might be a form of “entitlement” that we all take for granted.

But human beings need more than just food, water, and movement to stay alive. They need sleep.

In November 2017, SHC looks into questions about the “right to sleep” as a human right or civil right.

What is the right to sleep?

When soldiers are kept from sleeping during wartime, it is considered torture. That is the original notion behind sleep deprivation.

Why is it okay to prevent people from sleeping, or to ignore their need to sleep, in other situations?

People struggle with their right to sleep when they are:

  • homeless
  • unable to get appropriate care for medical conditions or mental health issues
  • living in communities plagued by air, noise, or light pollution they can’t escape
  • working multiple jobs in order to keep the lights on
  • expected to work odd, irregular, or long hours in order to keep their salaried positions
  • bullied or profiled due to their race, religion, creed, gender, or orientation
  • part of systems that do not take into consideration basic human needs (such as our educational system, when it demands young adults start school at an hour when circadian science recommends they should be sleeping)

What do you think?

Should the right to sleep warrant the same advocacy and demand more leadership as, say, hot lunch in schools or Black Lives Matter?

Does it matter if truck drivers aren’t given the right to sleep in certain states because of local idling laws?

Should employers be fined or regulated to prevent against overworking?

Is the anxiety that comes from prejudice and bigotry an argument for supporting the right to sleep?

Share your ideas in the comments below.