Simi Olurin ’19
I am running on 1.5 hours of sleep from last “night”. I put that word in quotations because the duration of my Chem-induced insomnia occurred in the early hours of the morning; the hours that you would have bragged about to your friends in middle school because you had dared to defy your body’s need for sleep in an effort to take full advantage of reruns of “iCarly”. I, however, am not bragging, because at 16 years old, I realize that this dark world that we live in has few pockets of light. Those moments are suddenly filled with a warmth and comfort that you have not known since the early days of your childhood on a warm summer day. Those are moments where you think that the birds fly a little higher, the sun shines a little brighter, and music sounds just a bit more magical. These moments are gifts from the universe, and the epitome of these gifts is the supposed 8 hours of pure, unadulterated bliss that come with your daily comatose episodes known as sleep.
Throughout lower and middle school, I was a close personal friend of sleep; we didn’t only speak on the weekends, but rather every day, and only when I got to high school did I realize that I completely took this friendship for granted. Only when I gained the true maturity that comes with freshman year did I realize that I had neglected my most valued friend. We spoke on weekends, and sometimes we would have a run-in on weekdays, but things were never quite as they used to be.
It seems as though I completely separated myself from my former best friend–sleep–the second that sophomore year began. I now barely notice the existence of the average 3 hours of bliss that I usually afford myself, and for about 2 months, I tried to train myself into functioning on a generous 4 hours in order to maximize my productivity. Imagine a world where we, teenagers, are no longer so dependent on something that people consider such a basic part of life; if sleep began its descent into a non-factor in our lives, the change in our lifestyle would be astronomical. Although such a change may be possible in the future, I know that I will not be a part of this new generation of super humans, simply because I consider sleeping as the purest form of bliss that can be achieved by mere mortals.
There’s a sense of achievement that comes from working hard and being rewarded, but in my state of pure delirium, I’ve begun questioning why I’ve started neglecting a part of basic human nature in order to get good grades. I’ve been wandering around the world like a zombie due to my sleep deprivation for longer than I would like to admit. During the summer, I often stay up until the sun and I are reintroduced from the previous day, but that’s different, as I have all day to catch up on the sleep that had evaded me. The school year is essentially a 9 month period where one can only hope to make it to another weekend in order to play some form of catch up on their sleep. This deplorable system has cultivated an attitude in many students that those who are getting a healthy amount of sleep aren’t working as hard as others, when in fact, it may be the exact opposite. We fail to realize that perhaps those who sleep more than us are actually managing their time better, and are rewarded with a legitimate amount of sleep.
I’m not really sure if I’m making much sense at this point, because the screen is beginning to get the 3 o’clock spin (when the words on my computer become a swirly mess of complete confusion), but I urge anyone who may happen upon this article in the unmentionable hours of the morning to follow this simple advice: go to sleep.