Portraits by Other Means

To Sleep, Perchance to Lose Consciousness

To Sleep, Perchance to Lose Consciousness

Every night before I go to bed, I like to have a glass of warm almond milk and watch an episode of Frasier. What do you do?

Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí wrote about this technique that he called “Slumber with a key.” He featured it as one of his 50 secrets of magic craftsmanship. Dalí presents this afternoon nap as a means of lucid dreaming (though one could argue it is more along the lines of hynagogia). It lasts less than a minute, in fact, even a second could be too long! Dalí recommends that the slumber last even less than a quarter of a second

Franz Kafka

…[Kafka] started work around 11 p.m. (as Begley points out, the letter- and diary-writing took up at least an hour a day, and more usually two), and then “depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, until one, two, or three o’clock, once even till six in the morning.” Then “every imaginable effort to go to sleep,” as he fitfully rested before leaving to go to the office once more. This routine left him permanently on the verge of collapse.


Madonna gets her sleep with the help of the latest health craze, turned fashion accessory, the Philip Stein Watch.

It looks like an ordinary wristwatch which displays two time zones but its makers claim those who wear the watch will get a more restful sleep, increased energy and improved concentration.

Two discs on the back of the watch work in tandem with the body and change your energy from negative to positive. The range cost between £600 and £2,000.

Aisha el-Qaddafi

Aisha el-Qaddafi, the daughter of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, likes to tell her three young children bedtime stories about the afterlife. Now, she says, they are especially appropriate.

“To make them ready,” she said, “because in a time of war you never know when a rocket or a bomb might hit you, and that will be the end.”

Russell Simmons

I put on those striped Gap pajamas. They are like seersucker-looking things. I play around with the Bhagavad-Gita. I tweet a lot of prayer, quotes from the Bhagavad-Gita or the yoga sutras. I’m in bed by 12, if I’m lucky.


TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan