For as long as I can remember, my mother has been in my ear: You need sleep. Sleep is important. Get your rest! Go to sleep!
It used to annoy the crap out of me in middle school. I’d roll my eyes and continue doing whatever I was doing, which was either homework that was due later in the week (yes, I was a nerd like that) or it was talking to someone on AOL Instant Messenger (anyone remember that??) Or, when I finally became cool, I was texting on my flip phone.
Then high school rolled around, and I was up early for basketball and choir practice and started to realize that I was a raging b-word if I didn’t get enough sleep. So I did alright. Didn’t always stay up late, got at least a solid 6 hours, or more if I could.
Then college, I was completely on my own and could decide when I wanted to go to bed or how late I wanted to stay out gallivanting with my friends. It was freeing to stay out to four without someone breathing down my neck, You need your rest, Marisa.
But that was fun for about a week. And then I realized I loved sleeping. Naps became my favorite things during the work week. If I could squeeze a thirty-minute shut-eye between work and practice, you better believe I’d be in bed, fully dressed for practice, alarm set.
I stayed out with friends some nights, but then I did that weird thing called sleeping in. And during the week, I tried to get eight hours. At least.
Sleep is good for you. So good for you. It allows your body time to rejuvenate, to process thoughts, to relieve stresses from the day, to heal from injuries or sickness or soreness, to boost your metabolism, to aid digestion, and gives you a break before you start all over. I didn’t realize how valuable it was until I got to college and had to literally plan my life, work, sports, homework time, and friend time around it.
My mom has always referred to herself as the ‘Sleep Nazi.’ She’s claimed her role. It used to drive me crazy when she’d get mad at me for staying out late, then getting up at the crack of dawn for work. I would put on that stubborn, sour face of mine, and insist I was nineteen-years-old. I was fineeeee.
I’m writing this now at 6:30 AM, sleep deprived and in a soon-to-be-crabby mood. I just thought I’d put a PSA out to the world: sleep is really, really good for you.
This life is crazy, I get it. There’s a lot going on, and for people in their high school and college years, it seems like you’ll miss out on life if you waste it sleeping. Someone once asked me: You spend half your life sleeping, what’s the point? Well, sir, the point is that you will have a miserable life without sleeping. And I don’t mean you have to absolutely get nine hours a night. I just mean that you have to take care of your body. Give it the rest it needs so that you can wakeup and have a productive next day, so that you can enjoy moments in your life without coasting through, so that you can feel good.
I never realized the value of sleep until it became difficult to get enough sleep in college. Now I try my hardest to catch up on some z’s when I can, and get to bed at a reasonable time when I know I have to be up at 5 AM the next day. Getting sleep doesn’t mean you have to be an anti-social weirdo. You can still live your life, just remember that everything needs rest. And shout out to the Sleep Nazi and other semi-crazy parents that really do know what’s best for their children. We’ll figure it out eventually. 😛