Leave it to the satirical newspaper The Onion to remind us. An article entitled “Nation Terrified After Millions Lose Consciousness for 8 Whole Hours Last Night” observes: “[N]early every American interviewed relayed a similar story of the incident’s onset, recalling that at some point last night, they began to notice an alarming slowing of their mental faculties and a growing sensation of full-body fatigue. Sources said that as it progressed, the bizarre phenomenon left them struggling to keep their eyes open, even if they were actively watching a television show or reading a book, until eventually their bodies and minds, in their words, simply ‘turned off.’”
And then there are dreams: “[A] sizable percentage of the populace claimed to have been plagued by mysterious visions, with many such individuals recalling strange and sometimes terrifying scenes in vivid detail. … Seattle woman Valerie McComb … appeared visibly shaken as she recounted the details. ‘And then at one point, and this is the most frightening part, my teeth just all fell out. How am I supposed to move on after such a horrific vision? Could it be an omen foretelling the future? Am I supposed to follow its instructions? I don’t know.’”
As much of the work referenced on this website makes plain, sleep in the 21st century is an “object of scientific knowledge and mastery”; The Onion brings home to us its “unruly, threatening” dimensions.