03/24/2011 02:35 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ben Stein Wants You To Sleep

Ben Stein, the lawyer-turned-writer-turned-actor who is perhaps most famous for his snooze-inducing monotone, wants you to sleep.

"Many -- maybe most -- of the people I know are grouchy, fearful and feel generally unwell," Stein revealed March 20 on "CBS Sunday Morning." Why? Because "uniformly, they do not get enough sleep," he asserted.

Ever the economic commentator, Stein explained that sleep is a "great, tax-free investment" and noted his belief that a good night's rest should last around 10 hours, as opposed to "the suicidal six that many people eke out."

He continued:

Sleep makes people calmer, more alert, less fearful -- just plain happier, or so I see around me and in me. I am sure that if this great nation were to concentrate on getting more sleep, we would be a happier, more confident people, and that by itself would be a major achievement ... Don't just take my word for it -- try it. Sleep more at night. If it's allowed at work or home, take a nap in the afternoon. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel.

The pop culture icon's dedication to shut-eye is rooted in childhood. He cites the influence of the noted 20th-century economist Frank Knight, a friend and colleague of Stein's father, who advised, "Never waste any time you could spend sleeping."

"As a child, I heard this constantly," Stein explained. "When I seemed to be irritable or sad, my father would quote the learned Dr. Knight, and then say, 'Just go to sleep.' Like all smart aleck kids, I thought the advice was silly. But as I've grown older, I've realized just how smart Knight was."

Deferring to another intellectual heavyweight, Stein offered a line from "Macbeth": "Sleep knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care."