Though the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon contains the unsettling phrase “goodnight air,” it has nothing (unsettling-wise) on the recently released Arianna Huffington audio book Goodnight Smartphone, a horror story for our modern times.
Here is a brief plot summary: people who don’t have a sleep ritual that involves baths and separate bedrooms for their electronic devices are “sleep deprivation braggers” with “sleep macho swagger” and “a lack of common sense.” Huffington, who is famous for advocating passionately on behalf of sleeping (I think most people do it!), released the book for free on Audible today.
There are many statements therein that are too heavy for a children’s book, or even for an adult’s book, in my opinion. Here is a selection of actual quotes:
- “Goodnight moon that I can’t see because of my blackout curtains.”
- “Goodnight house; goodnight problems with spouse.”
- “Goodnight sleep-killing blue light from my electronic devices that I have escorted out of the room.”
- “Goodnight sheets, goodnight tweets.”
- “Goodnight two little kittens sleeping anywhere but on the bed.” (Oh? Okay.)
- “Goodnight caffeine, which I stop drinking no later than 2:15.”
- “Goodnight laptop, which, as a repository for all my daily anxieties and fears has been closed for the night.”
In the poem’s preamble, Huffington asks that we “close down the day so we can open ourselves up to the possibilities of the night.” While I, too, have a deep disdain for what some have called the garish light of day, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that nighttime is any better. All manner of being alive is equally fraught — sleeping through the night is not fun or a good idea if you’re menstruating, for example, nor is it possible if you have a cold or a recurring nightmare. Being awake all day long is usually terrible, but sometimes it’s okay — like if it’s summer or if it’s at least two years ago. But I don’t think we need to get into this right now, as we’re trying to write a children’s book encouraging sleep. The secret: just be sweet to the little darlings, and also to me!
Anyway, here’s an alternate poem for your kids or anyone else:
Goodnight pleasant amount of light coming from the moon
Which is right here in case someone I love has an emergency
And other roommate
Saying “good night” to people
Instead of objects
Is a good way to act normal
And show care
Goodnight little room
And goodnight Ghost
That’s the name of my cat
And I don’t believe in ghosts
Which is technically still on
I like to watch TV while I fall asleep
I think it’s fine
If you would really like a bed for your smartphone, it’s your lucky day because that exists.