Sleeping has become an unsatisfying affair. Don’t get me wrong, sleeping is one of my favorite things in life, at least right now. Sleep is what I dream of as I am driving to work, running through a blizzard to my next class, or when I am nodding off in the middle of an important meeting. Sleep is still easy for me to accomplish – as soon as my head hits the pillow – it doesn’t matter if my boyfriend is watching TV or talking on the phone. Nothing can stop me, because sleep is what I never get enough of.
Today our bodies have become thoroughly confused by the artificial signals of modern life. Light is no longer a cyclical function of the sun, but of always-on indoor lights, TV screens, and computer monitors. Temperature no longer follows a dynamic cycle of cooling at night and warming during the day but sits at a static level set by the thermostat. Human chatter and social interaction used to follow a natural ebb and flow, but now we are more likely to live and sleep in isolation from real people, even while we have 24/7 access to artificial people (faces on TV, voices on the radio). Then, after utterly confusing our circadian rhythm, we try to take back control with stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) and depressants (alcohol, sleeping pills). Is it any wonder that a third of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived?
Despite the fact that I sleep well, rarely dream, and more often than not sleep right through the night – I never feel well rested. Waking up always has and always will be a pain for me. And it doesn’t matter if I am waking up at 6 am or at noon (yay Sundays!), regardless of the time, my head is cloudy for at least 2 hours after waking.
Sometimes I am so tired in the morning, that I feel like my whole drive to work is spent sleepwalking. Eight or nine hours later, when I am finally ready to go home – I can’t remember where I parked my car!
So how do you deal with something like that? I don’t suffer from insomnia, I sleep well, and I get around 7-8 hours of sleep, which is pretty healthy compared to how I used to live on 1 hour of sleep a week…. but that was a long time ago, in a totally different world.
I have looked into vitamin supplements, Seasonal Affective Disorder (here in Upstate NY it’s a serious concern!) – anything that could explain why I never get enough sleep. But in all honesty, instead of looking for deficiencies and diseases to blame, I should look at all the energy-consuming activities I put myself through. Maybe eliminate some of them for the sake of my health.
Taking 8 classes, working in between, developing a startup, actively pursuing jobs and internships, constantly monitoring social media channels (because god forbid I miss anything – my whole career literally depends on it), supporting the eboard of the largest organization on campus, maintaining a happy relationship, taking care of a pet, budgeting, figuring life out. It’s a lot and it happens every day. It starts every morning and it doesn’t end until I fall asleep. And I could say “f— it!” and quit half of those things. Find some time for myself, to do the things I love, to sit in silence without feeling guilty for not being productive.
But then I really will be a lazy, self-absorbed millennial, won’t I?
Part of the Daily Prompt: Mr. Sandman