Lady Gaga Sleeps!
People can and do sleep anywhere.
Botticelli’s Venus first arrived on earth popping from a half shell, and now a human desiring to be her avatar, the Lady Gaga, has “birthed” from a resin egg during the Grammy Awards. She enjoyed her egg-placed “meditation” so greatly she now wants to sleep in it – through each and every night. The new egg bed will be part of a redecoration scheme of her NY apartment costing 1.9 to 2.5 million U.S. dollars (different journalists apparently get different numbers.) The bed will be accompanied by other “unusual pieces” that may provide her a sense of being reborn every morning.
Is This Progress?
Yes. Last year the Lady famously announced “I’ll sleep when I die,” (see my “Please Lady Gaga, Get Some Rest,” in Psychologytoday.com from June, 2010). Her position has changed – sleep is no longer a terminal event but a pleasant, useful activity. Previous reports that she needed staff members lying with her in order to slumber can now be replaced with stories about the joys of egg beds. Humans may not birth from eggs like marsupials, but even without the “calm of the womb” expect to see more than one type of egg bed in the future.
Why Should We Care?
Lady Gaga is a trendsetter. If she suggests to her fans that rest is a good idea, even an absolutely fantastic idea, it may do good. Young people worldwide are getting extraordinarily little sleep and rest.
And beds have not occupied much of the public imagination of late, outside of endless commercials for “muffin tops” and magical “memory foam.” Throughout history beds have been popular as fantasy objects – especially those of the ruling classes. For the middle classes, sleigh beds, bath beds, and sleeping in water have all had their vogue from medieval times onward. So it may not be a bad thing for people to think of new places to rest. Salvador Dali’s surrealist ghost may also appreciate that someone is working the popular imagination very much as he did.
Unusual and Strange Beds
People can buy beds that let them sleep standing up surrounded in smothering foam; beds that turn into bookshelves; beds that carom back and forth like giant elliptical rocking chairs; beds built to help you through earthquakes; beds designed for the floating environment of space.
And folks do and can sleep in pretty much every possible space. Many years ago, when I was a student at the Harvard School of Public Health, an oncologist at the University of Vermont regaled me with one of his first year medical school stories: a professor, asked about children sleeping in closets, explained that no parent would ever do such a thing.
A hand went up. “Excuse me, sir, but my parents had me sleep in a closet throughout my childhood.”
Jerry Yates told me his fellow classmates always thought that fellow a bit odd – even for a medical student.
People still sleep on wooden boards; in coffins; on rows of nails; the thinnest futons; the central aisles of airplanes (British soccer star Wayne Rooney); airplane seats; even hospital beds, despite the bleeping machinery and compulsory 5 AM vampirization.
We sleep where we can, as sleep is as necessary to our lives as food.
Lady Gaga and the Future of Sleep
Though I’m very happy Lady Gaga is now sleeping, I suspect her Egg Bed is just the beginning of another commercial trend. Her reputation as an endlessly morphing fashionista is getting slightly tired, despite her extraordinary creative efforts.
Lady Gaga may have designs on furniture design. For many stars, much money lies in licensing. Recently, Jessica Simpson has sold $1 billion worth of “her” clothing. Can a Gaga furniture line lie far behind?
And an egg bed does demonstrate that beyond ingenuity, sleep itself is a type of rebirth, where we wake with a rewired brain and a partially rewritten body every morning – a new, literally different version of ourselves. Our bodies change inside even faster than the protean, shapeshifting Lady Gaga – you essentially get a new heart in three days. And now even she knows the truth – rest is regeneration.
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