Here and Meow: What Cats Can Teach Us About Sleep
Published in The Huffington Post
I’ve never been much of a cat person. I’ll confess that until recently I couldn’t understand the lure these mysterious creatures had for so many. Beyond their penchant for catching the occasional rodent, it seemed they were little more than hypersomnolent stoics who couldn’t distinguish a scratching post from a fine leather sofa.
After considerable observation of our feline friends, however, I’ve come to wonder if they might actually be from another world — a parallel universe where rest and sleep are held in the highest esteem. Because they are on exceptionally good terms with it, I believe cats have much to teach us about the secrets of natural sleep.
Cats commonly sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day — more than most mammals and up to twice as much as humans. Why do they sleep so much? Well, because they can. Cats are predators with few natural enemies, meaning they live under the auspices of a generous, genetically-endowed sense of physical safety. They are, after all, first cousins to the king of the jungle. It’s obvious to anyone who has ever watched a cat sleep that they feel remarkably safe and secure.
Cats remind us of the critical role of personal safety and security in obtaining healthy sleep.