Dead Philosophers Explain Bedtime to My Child

So we meet again, old friend, timeless confidante, dark night of would-be dreams and an endless melody of city sounds and sporadic snores. “Me time” shall now commence.

As the square, gliding lights shine slivers of light on the bedroom walls I wonder when this baby will give in to the pull of slumber so that I can focus on nothingness and take a few moments to simply exist. Helpless and numb, I conjure ghosts whose souls rest between pages. Dead philosophers. They whisper, one-by-one, lullabies into the ear of the drowsy babe. And parsecs to go before I sleep…

Image for post
Image for post
Image of a woman who is definitely not me. (Courtesy of Unsplash)

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Please, have a dream.”

Rene Descartes

“I understand your doubt with respect to bedtime, but you must understand that that is in and of itself proof that bedtime does exist. Now, I will say this one more, clearly and distinctly: go to sleep, my little thinking thing.”


“Good kids do not need a bedtime to tell them when to go to sleep, while bad kids will find a way to stay awake. My apologies, now swap those sheep for these shadows on the wall.”


“One blink does not a slumber make. Nor one fake sleep; similarly one eye closed or brief time of pseudo-snooze does not make a kid entirely rested.”

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

“Not games, not tricks, not the crescendo of screams, not one more minute or another listen to Baby Shark, but a deep, peaceful sleep that leads kids to fun.”


“You must be ready to tuck yourself into your own bed; how could you rise anew if you have not first gone to sleep?”


“Kids that love having privileges must be acquainted with very many respected bedtimes indeed.”

Alain Leroy Locke

“For weeks in your mind, bedtime has been more of a formula than a necessity — a something to be argued about, condemned or defended, to be ignored, or debated or changed, a childhood bogey or a childhood burden. The New Bedtime is something else. Let’s race to bed now.

Hannah Arendt

“Real adventure begins when bedtime begins.”

Immanuel Kant

“Kids need to understand that when they respect the bedtime given by their parents, they fulfill thereby God’s commandments. So it is imperative that you go to sleep.”

Sextus Empiricus

“Guard yourself from the waking state. Staying awake only appears to be the right thing to do.”

John Rawls

“The even larger difference between well-rested and exhausted makes the latter even worse off, and this violates the principle of mutual advantage. There is no justice without bedtime.”

Jean Paul Sartre

“We will bedtime for bedtime’s sake, in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing bedtime, we discover that it depends entirely upon the bedtime of our parent’s and that the bedtime of our parents depends upon the child. So your responsibility is much greater than you might have supposed, because it involves me. I’m nauseous. Go to sleep.”

Elisabeth, Princess of Bohemia

“Although bedtime is not necessary to sleep, it isn’t inconsistent with it either. So I may suggest it because of something else that kids need that is no less essential to our family than sleep is.”

Martin Heidegger

“In its essence, bedtime is something that kids do not control. Kids who envy people who stay up late never notice that insomniacs only rest in borrowed night.”

Simone De Beauvoir

“Sleep is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the energy to fight for it.”

George Berkeley

“None of this shit is real either way, so when I leave the room do what you want.”

Mary Astell

“My earnest desire is, that you, my sweet and darling child, would be as perfect and happy as is possible to be in this imperfect world. For I love you too much to endure watching you miss out of fun activities because you’re too exhausted. I want you to enjoy your youth. So, I seriously propose that you sleep.”

David Hume

“Sleep, then, is the great gift to kid life. It is that blessing alone which renders kid’s experiences fun to them, and makes them expect, for the future, a similar train of fun activities. Without the influence of sleep, kids would be completely deprived of every taste of excitement beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses.”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store