Bedtimes and ill effects of lack of sleep

From the archives: Posted on 31st January, 2003

“Honestly, I think most entrenched theories are easy to root out. Example: Parent believes children need bedtimes. Tries to force bedtime onto child. Child will not sleep at bedtime. Child does not seem tired. Parent tries out every method available to force child to sleep. Still child will not. This is obviously not working. Child obviously is not having any ill effects from lack of sleep.”

Under the circumstances described, the parent will attribute all ill effects to lack of sleep. The parent will also interpret all unwanted behaviour as an ‘ill effect’. Not because the parent is stupid or malevolent, but because all observation is theory laden, and because causation cannot be observed.

David Deutsch, 2003, ‘Bedtimes and ill effects of lack of sleep’,