03/14/2013 12:52 pm ET | Updated May 14, 2013

Is It Possible for Women to Do Nothing?

A "do nothing" women's movement? I've been thinking about this a lot since I spoke with Dr. Rubin Naiman at last week's World Sleep Summit for Women's Health and Power. He told women that falling asleep was easy.

All you have to do is nothing.


I don't know one woman who's doing nothing. A few years ago, I would have said, "I don't want to know a woman who's doing nothing, because that woman is clearly not changing the world."

But what if Dr. Naiman is on to something. What if nothing is something?

Here's my vision: "Do nothing" days... "do nothing" breaks at work... "do nothing" vacations. Lots of hammocks to take naps when you've got the urge to "do nothing." Well-rested women who honor their cycles and, in turn, honor the rhythmic nature of life.

Dr. Naiman's words from the summit keep ringing in my ear:

"Our culture is dis-rhythmic."

Everyone's going and doing, the light pollution is keeping us up at night and we sleep with our cell phones by our bedside table. I think about how I keep saying the streetlights bother me in my bedroom, yet I still haven't bought those blackout blinds. My body says yes, do it, but I don't respond.

How many people are not responding to the "yes" deep in their soul?


And how is this affecting decision making in our homes, communities, and the world?

"We've got to get back in touch with the rhythm."

But how?

Do nothing.

I hear Dr. Naiman's words again in my ears. "Sleep is grace."

"The source of boldness is rest."

"Dusk or evening is bittersweet chocolate time."

I'm already a sleep activist. I get all of this. But do I really get the revolutionary significance of doing nothing? Think of the stand women could make if they took more time to do nothing?

Yes, there are social movements to lead.

Kids to care for.

Incomes to earn.

Dinner to get in the oven.

Mothers with babies who have nonstop needs.

But what if we scheduled "do nothing" into our calendars? In little pockets to begin with so our bodies begin to understand what rest even feels like. And then the rhythm in our bodies comes back and subsequently the rhythm in our homes returns, and soon after our communities and the world aligns with this rhythm too.

"Sleep is a way to get back home," Dr. Naiman whispers.

What if we took the radical step to operate from our home zone, and as a consequence "doing nothing" restored our health and healthy people restored the rhythm on earth?

Violence against women acts became no brainers. All hospitals began offering real midwifery care to low-risk women.

As I turned off my light last Thursday night after the summit, far too late to admit to a sleep doctor, I breathed into the dis-rthymia inside of me, made some resolutions to get those blackout blinds this week, turned out my light, and hoped I wasn't dreaming.

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