Click on a Theme below to go to a summary of the four posts about that Theme.

Sleep, from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," a song by The Tokens

Subthemes: Children, Hibernation, Caffeine

When The Tokens released, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” its unique sound drove it to the top of the charts. Click here to enjoy the song. All about trying to soothe a darling child to sleep, despite its worries about a nearby lion, the lullaby combines a catchy tune and memorable harmonization to suggest several aspects of Sleep.

Weeheeheehee dee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away
Weeheeheehee dee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away
In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

In the jungle the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
Wee heeheehee weeoh aweem away
Wee heeheehee weeoh aweem away

Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village, the quiet village
The lion sleeps tonight

Wee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away
Rrr, la la la weeoh aweem away
Hush, my darling, don’t fear, my darling,
The lion sleeps tonight

Hush, my darling, don’t fear, my darling,
The lion sleeps tonight

[refrain omitted]

Source: Musixmatch The Lion Sleeps Tonight lyrics © Abilene Music, TMBG Music, Luigi Creatore Music, Hugo Peretti Music, Abilene Music Inc, Hjp Music

Children: Children want to be awake; they thrum with excitement and happiness so much that they reject going to sleep. Worse, dark and quiet and being alone in a bed can be scary; who knows what monsters lurk underneath or outside? Parents develop rituals and patterns to calm their children to settle down to sleep, perhaps by snuggling, telling them stories, or singing to them. A child may have a favorite doll or blanket that soothes them if they worry about a lion or other rough beast. Night lights reassure small ones as does hypnotic music. When morning eventually comes, however, children tumble out of bed, ready to start their morning.

Not so with older children. Teenagers are notorious for reversing the preferred sleep patterns of their younger siblings and parents. Life offers too much fun to waste it with shut eye! They easily and gladly stay up until the wee hours and snooze soundly ‘til noon; their dull parents retire at 9:30 PM and arise at 6:00 AM, may struggle with bouts of insomnia during the night and may even need a mid-afternoon nap. College dorm excitement gets underway past 10:00 PM!

Hibernation: Lions don’t hibernate, but many animals sleep through the cold months when food is scarce. Their metabolism drops dramatically, and they stay curled in their lair until warmth revives them. Hibernation may last days, weeks, or months—depending on the species, ambient temperature, time of year, and the animal’s condition. Before entering hibernation, animals need to eat enough to last through the dormant period.

Hibernation differs significantly from sleep. Hibernation is an extended torpor when bodily functions fall to less than five percent of normal. During sleep, animals continue to breathe and burn calories normally. Hibernation is a much deeper rest. In fact, animals sometimes have to wake up from their hibernation to catch some sleep, according to National Geographic.

Caffeine: What fear of marauding lions does to worried children, caffeine does to adults – stops them from sleeping. Need to get through your work even though drowsy? Want to push on another hour or two? For many, a cup of coffee does the trick. For hardcore situations, swig a Spike Hardcore Energy, which packs 350 milligrams of caffeine in each 16 ounce can – nearly the amount in four cups of coffee. Eight ounces of normal coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine; a caffeinated soft drink typically contains about half that amount. Doctors recommend consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day and no more than 200 mg in a single dose, according to Proper Wild.

So-called “energy drinks” combine big dollops of caffeine with stunning amounts of sugar. The Spike mentioned above slugs around 260 calories of sugar. Talk about a “sugar high”! These popular beverages may pose a serious health risk as studies continue to show negative effects from large doses of caffeine and sugar. For pulling that all-nighter or dancing to dawn, when neither coffee nor an energy drink is up to the challenge, Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall are among the prescription drugs mis-used by those who want to stay awake far longer than is healthy.

 

When the big cat sleeps, the village can relax, and children can fall asleep. Lions never hibernate so constant watchfulness in the nearby villages is crucial. Better than keeping awake because of a fear of felines, coffee brings alertness, energy drinks concentrate bulk caffeine and sugar, and some prescription drugs keep the midnight oil burning even longer.

If you are interested in further thoughts on the concept Sleeping, consider other subthemes that don’t fit as directly to the poem, painting, rock song, and movie written about in this series. For an overview, this article explains Themes from Art or click on the navigation bar, About.

We invite you to read about other songs discussed on this blog, and their themes. Here they are:

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