Sacrificing sleep: you’ve got to stop somewhere

Feb. 20, 2018, 1:00 a.m.
Sacrificing sleep: you've got to stop somewhere
Courtesy of Unsplash

It physically pains me to fight off my desire to sleep. It’s one of the most uncomfortable sensations that my body goes through. Eyelids heavy and drooping under the apparently crushing weight of fluorescent lighting, voices slowly morphing into the monotonous Charlie Brown mumble, neck suddenly incapable of supporting the head that’s supposed to be absorbing the information being thrown out. That was me every single day last week.

It didn’t matter if it was a lecture that I could secretly disengage from or a discussion section in which my every movement was under the watchful eye of the TA. It didn’t matter if the information was mind-numbingly dull or insanely riveting. I still found myself jumping in my seat every time I inevitably found myself slipping. I was pinching my arms to keep from getting too comfortable, internally pleading for some sort of sudden stimulation, a burst of laughter or kick in the back of my seat, anything to send me out of the hazy half-dreaming world and crashing back to reality, even if only for a few minutes before I was overtaken once more.

From where is this constant tiredness arising? Am I adjusting to removing caffeine from my diet or perhaps unexpectedly gaining some mild narcoleptic tendencies? No and, thankfully, no. This is just the result of too many nights of sacrificing sleep, something which has gotten out of control and has brought my attention to the importance of drawing a line when it comes to giving up any extra hours of slumber.

I’ve been sleeping roughly six hours a night for a while now. I thought I could handle having a 9:30 every morning this quarter, but let’s just say, I certainly will not be doing this again come spring. The early rising, combined with some pretty late nights, are just not a good combination. You’d think I’d at least partially catch up on my sleep on the weekends, but even later nights and the desire to not completely waste my days in bed lead to the same, if not less, amounts of sleep.

I considered allowing my sleep bank deficit to continue to build until spring break, when I would sleep until the early afternoon every day if I so desired. But I’ve accepted the fact that this is neither healthy nor realistic, as I don’t even think I could make it to the end of winter quarter without burning myself out if I continue down the path I’ve sleepily dragged myself down.

So this has brought me to consider my very conscious decisions all these nights to stay up hours later than I know I should. Sometimes it’s to do work, which procrastination and prior laziness play large roles in. Other times, it’s to socialize — just a few days ago I went to say good night to a friend and ended up staying in her room for two hours. Fewer times, but even more disappointingly when it occurs, it’s to watch an hour long episode of “Shameless” before bed.

While these are all fine things in moderation, when they’re interfering with your ability to function fully and normally throughout the day, you know you have gone a step too far. It’s easy to ignore what you should do in favor of what you want to do, even when your body is crying for help the next day and all of the other days following. While I can’t tell you to outright stop sacrificing sleep for seemingly more important (or obviously less important but seemingly worthwhile) things, I will just say that it should never turn into a habit, and maybe if it is, this speaks more to an inability to efficiently and successfully get the most out of your waking hours.

As I sit here writing this, I can feel my fingers slowing down and my eyelids drooping. It’s only 10 p.m., but I’m going to start listening to my body. It’s time for bed. No more work. No more socializing. No more “Shameless.” I’m going to bed. Good night.


Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’

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