David Jimenez Torres presents “Bad dream”: “Hardly anyone talked about sleep”


Francis Scott Fitzgerald said that remembering at three in the morning, for example, a lost package, a person feels sentenced to death. Then the sun comes out and the problems of the night take on a different relief, less blurred by the shadows of loneliness, revealing their true dimension. Perhaps this is the main point that he wanted to focus on in his latest book. David Jimenez Torres: anxious paranoia of a sleeper forced to rest but unable to do so; a clear flight of the mind on a pallet; many experiences, as truly personal as they are overwhelmingly universal, experienced by all those who find it difficult to sleep. The reality that we all more or less know, even if we do not notice it. “The axis of the book is to describe the experience of a bad sleeper,” its author summed up yesterday during the presentation of the work. “From there, of course, I ended up in a thousand different places, but always from personal experience.”

Jimenez Torres admits that he has always had trouble sleeping. He spent so many hours of his life feeling compelled to toss and turn that he became an expert at rambling about sleep. “This interests me much more than oneiroid,” he said yesterday. “There is a very rich cultural history about dreams. This is what haunted people at different times. But almost no one talked about sleep. It seemed interesting to me to approach this issue from a little-known road. Now the fruits of his research have reached bookstores focused primarily on the figure doomed to exhaustion: “The enemy of the sleeper is not the night, but the day“, sums up the author. “Although it’s not a very comprehensive book,” he also admits. “It’s more of a literary essay on a topic that’s more medically addressed.”

bad dream (La Esfera de los Libros) received the First Publisher’s Prize for non-fiction before it was even written. “Our intention is that young writers with brilliant ideas feel the support they need to do the work they couldn’t do without the resources,” Luis Solano also explained yesterday. Jiménez Torres received the award a year ago, but only now has he been able to show the fruits of his labor: an essay that mixes autobiography with reflection, historical research with cultural diffusion, and who knows how to gracefully move from medical anecdote to literary reference so prone to discreet illumination of mysteries as elusive as a sleeper’s dream. It is also a varnished book of humor. “The risk was to make a joke that wasn’t funny at all,” says the author. “This performance was also not thought about, but there are moments when you need to laugh at yourself. For example, while awake, a bad sleeper catches himself thinking about the most incredible things. One can be convinced that his partner is stealing his sleep, and even get angry at it. All these ridiculous paranoias cause me a certain tenderness, and I wanted them to be reflected.

Universe of Perspectives

The case can be approached from different angles. “That’s why it’s so interesting.” From a historicist perspective, for example, Jiménez Torres admits that he wanted to question the more or less widespread idea that modernity conspired against human peace. “Many of the arguments that are made in this regard are perfectly valid,” he explains. “The spread of artificial lighting, which to a certain extent makes it difficult to rest; digital hyperlink that prevents you from finishing your worries at any moment; anxiety and hypertension that characterize our societies…”. “The thing is,” he later adds, “it gets even worse if you start studying how our ancestors slept.” In the end, “Our age also does not have a monopoly on worries.. An 11th-century peasant could also lose sleep due to famine, plague, or religious reasons. And let’s not talk about the material conditions in which he was forced to sleep.”

The evolutionary section, for its part, might also have something to say. The theory rescued in the book states that the bad sleep that some people suffer from may be evolutionary advantage experienced by some members of the ancient human tribes who needed sentries to keep the night safe. “In any case, this theory is still very difficult to demonstrate, but that does not mean that it is not interesting,” explains Jimenez Torres.

What he finds remarkable is the fact that “today the dream has acquired different cultural status“Just as healthy food has become fashionable, sleep as an object of desire is also starting to catch on. And I think that says something about our society. It encourages us to think, at least, that our perception is that we need to take better care of our health,” he explains. In this regard, he cites a startling fact: “Some studies show that the bad sleep industry is growing 8% annually.” And he is surprised: “Why is sleep more important to us now than before?“.

Medicines and other means

In the section on desperate solutions to sleep problems, Jiménez Torres lists quite a few. “In the book, I describe, for example, my experiences with mindfulness and the experiences of others who have tried more ambitious therapies.” One of the most popular is usually medication, although with different nuances. For example, in “Bad Dream” there is no mention of any hard drug. “I am writing from my personal experience,” David justifies. “And the truth is that although I tried melatonin“I never wanted to go to the next pharmacological level.” What’s more, by asking other bad sleepers, he came to a startling conclusion. “My experience is that most of those who, like me, do not suffer from insomnia, which is too disturbing, feel a certain fear of taking medication, both in order to avoid addiction, and because of the effects of sleep from which we may continue to suffer the next day and which may affect our daily lives.”

However, the line that distinguishes people with poor sleep from those with insomnia is somewhat elusive. “In my opinion, real insomniacs have a really big problem that obviously affects their health,” he explains. “The sleepers in my book are little victims. Our atoll is an atoll on the map of a world of human suffering.” For this reason, in general, he believes that one of the ways to recognize bad sleep is that he manages to live without drugs. “Modern medical literature considers that the most effective, in fact, is change certain habits“- he comments. – It’s the best way to spend the night with the opportunity to sleep half well.”

Another problem has to do with schedules and the inability of some people to adapt to the established routine. “Those of us who belong to the evening chronotype are usually activated at sunset, and it is really difficult for us to go to bed before three. Fortunately, science has shown that we genetically predisposed to itand that it’s not our fault what’s happening to us.” Thus, one of the purposes of his book was to serve as a consolation to all those who are called night people. “Friend, brother, this is not your fault. That’s what I want to tell you,” he sums up.

Apart from all this, the essay never leaves style will simple and elaborate, which is why the reader can only experience the pleasure of reading. Allusions to Shakespeare or Cioran run through its pages, expressing in various ways the resemblance between sleep and death/Nothing. And to religious mystics who considered night to be the best time to approach divine transcendence or experience existential torment. There are also noticeable differences between congenital bad sleep and bad sleep caused by external situations such as paternity. In fact, it doesn’t really matter if you’re awake for one reason or another. Each of those who wake up in the wee hours unites a certain brotherhood. It doesn’t matter if they never meet. “My greatest medicine was to write this book“, Jimenez Torres admits at the end. “As a result of this, my relationship with sleep has definitely changed.”


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