Hustle culture, capitalism, and when’s the last time you slept?

Thanks so much to TempurPedic for sponsoring this blog post! I’m so excited to share their incredibly comfortable mattress topper with you guys that’s helped me sleep better than I ever have in my 21 years of existence. As always, I only partner with brands that I believe will bring value to you.


“I’m so busy this week.”

“Work was crazy today.”

“I’m completely swamped with assignments.”

“Ugh, I’m so tired today I only got five hours of sleep.”

Admit it. If you’re anything like me, you’ve said all of the above statements before and worn them as a badge of honor. You’re an overachiever and workaholic who refuses to accept that they need to do less. Instead, you hold yourself to an impossibly high standard and define your worth by your achievements and hard work.

Don’t worry if you feel dragged. I’m dragging myself through the gutter right now.

The world fed me capitalism and hustle culture and I completely ate it up. I came out of the womb a new cog in the capitalist machine, ready to work and work and work up until the day I died. 21 years later, I’ve finally begun to unlearn this unhealthy mindset.

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Before I dive into all this, though, let’s backtrack and unpack this. What is hustle culture anyway and what does it have to do with capitalism?

According to Merriam Webster, capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”

Capitalism is the economic system at play here in the United States and numerous other countries. What’s important to note about capitalism that you won’t get from a typical definition, is that in practice, a capitalist system places profits above all else. It encourages companies to produce high quality goods to maintain success in the market and has produced our favorite iPhones. But it has also created the fast fashion industry in which thousands were killed due to tragedies such as the Rana Plaza catastrophe and beyond.

Photo via  Wikipedia . Originally uploaded to Flickr by Rijans007.

Photo via Wikipedia. Originally uploaded to Flickr by Rijans007.

In the end, capitalism values profit over the environment, animals, human lives, and more. Money becomes God. Following from that, acquiring capital becomes the most important goal. How can we make the most money in order to achieve Godlike status? How can we garner capital and profits in order to make it to the top of the system and achieve acceptance from our peers?

This kind of mindset is perfect birthing grounds for hustle culture. While there’s no dictionary definition for hustle culture, think of it as a societal norm and pattern in which people are encouraged to work hard and chase their goals above all else. It sounds good on the surface, but when you delve into it, it becomes insidiously unhealthy.

Hard work is placed over all and things like self care fall through the cracks to be completely forgotten. Burnout becomes the norm. We base our worth off of how much we work and our achievements, rather than valuing our own kindness and intelligence. Work becomes performative to the point where we wear our exhaustion as badges of honor.

Sound familiar? Capitalism teaches us to base our worth off of our productivity and leads us to believe that not sleeping in the name of “hustling” is a worthy cause. We begin to believe that depriving our bodies of rest and proper care in order to work more, we can become worthy.

hustle culture, capitalism, and sleep

After 21 years of this, I’m over it. From college to part time jobs to internships to my blog, I’ve worked my tail off and I am EXHAUSTED. I’m done acting like I don’t need sleep to function. I’m not superhuman! Sleep is good for me and I need it!

Since I got to college, I’ve been taking my self care way more seriously. I overloaded myself frequently in high school and have only learned the true power of saying no in the past couple years after breaking down from stress on a few different occasions.

This past year, I lightened up my load at school by letting go of some extracurriculars and was able to spend way more time decompressing and enjoying quality time with friends. With less work to do each day, I also had more time to prioritize my sleep.

Despite having less on my plate and being able to get into bed earlier, I was having a hard time sleeping well. My bed just wasn’t comfortable enough for me and I was constantly tossing and turning. This summer, though, I’ve been sleeping like a baby.

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Tempur-Pedic gifted me a mattress topper that has changed my life. Now that I’m home for the summer, I’m stuck with my twin sized bed that’s gotten to be a bit small for me. It makes sleeping a true struggle. But with my mattress topper, I’m somehow in literal heaven.

My favorite thing about the mattress topper is that it’s so much cheaper than a full size mattress and can be transported much more easily. I’ve been using it on my own bed, but you could easily use it for the next time you have overnight guests.

All I had to do was throw it on top of the mattress I already have and enjoy my three inch memory foam cushion. It’s like my entire bed is made of memory foam!

I’ve always been jealous of people who could simply doze off to sleep. I never understood how someone could feel so comfortable so immediately. Now, I’m realizing they probably all had Tempur-Pedic mattresses or mattress toppers.

In this kind of world, being well rested is a rebellion against hustle culture. And I’m here for it.