Don’t fall into a sleepless cycle – The Paisano
Considering the fast pace of life, sleep deprivation has become the trend, especially among college students. Your sleep schedule indicates how busy your life has become. As young students, we often brag about our bad sleep habits, not realizing how harmful these habits can be in the long run.
How often do you find yourself participating in conversations where everyone compares the amount of sleep they’ve had to seeing who slept the least amount of time? How often have you correlated your lack of sleep with your productivity? How many times have you ignored your bad sleep habits as a necessary evil?
I’ve had my fair share of these conversations, and over time I’ve realized the imperfect nature of these comparisons.
The correlation between sleep and productivity is absurd and can have detrimental effects not only on your physical well-being, but also on your mental health. It also hijacks your ability to recognize unhealthy sleep patterns and take action – including professional help if needed – to correct those patterns.
The main reason why a lack of sleep correlates with a busy life is simply because it produces a false sense of productivity. You give up your sleep to achieve that feeling of productivity. The longer you stand, the more you feel this adrenaline rush. Over time, you find yourself lying awake day in and day out, checking your midnight to-do lists without realizing how unhealthy it can be for your body and mind.
What might start out as a singular event quickly turns into an extremely difficult cycle to break. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with sleep for a few years now and it’s still something I struggle with every day. In all fairness, that initial sense of productivity that I used to feel has been replaced by exhaustion, both physical and mental.
A lot of people might claim that they work better at night, and I find that I, too, am more productive at night. But nothing is worth messing up your body clock.
Your body needs a certain amount of sleep to function properly. You need downtime to recharge. Your body cannot continue to function on low amounts of sleep for long periods of time. In fact, the CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 get at least seven hours of sleep a night; however, given the current normalization of poor sleep habits, many young people are likely to fall below this threshold.
By comparing sleep schedules, we are essentially promoting a very unhealthy habit. We turn something negative into something trending.
This idea that insufficient sleep is a necessary evil to stay in control is often used to justify unhealthy sleep patterns. There are so many people who have trouble sleeping, and normalizing unhealthy sleep patterns might deter them from implementing changes or seeking help. You have to recognize a problem if you want to solve it, and this normalization makes that really difficult.
As someone with a truly unhealthy sleep schedule, I cannot stress enough the importance of sleep. Contrary to the current trend, lack of sleep, paradoxically enough, decreases your productivity. The sleep deficit builds up over time, and there will come a time when you will feel tired and drained even after minor exertion.
Of course, there may be times when you need to stand. Circumstances vary from person to person, but if you can afford to get more sleep, push yourself to make that change and get professional help if needed. It can be a difficult task, but it is definitely worth a try.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to give up sleep because of the fast pace of your life. Don’t justify your bad sleep habits with productivity. If your sleep schedule is exhausting you, something is wrong and you need to change your sleep patterns.
I won’t end by saying that my sleep schedule is on track. It’s not. Despite everything I just said, I still have trouble getting to sleep on time. I am able to analyze the negative effects of my sleep schedule on my body, but I always find myself following the same sleep patterns. I have been trying for the past two years to implement a healthier sleep schedule, but the longevity of my poor sleep habits has just made it difficult.
I use my own example to emphasize once again: don’t wait for your body to start showing physical signs of insufficient sleep before trying to implement changes. If and when you find yourself slipping into a pattern of unhealthy sleep patterns, break the cycle before it gets out of hand.