You can sleep when you’re dead.
This was something I had always believed in. After all, life is short. Why sleep if you can spend the time on better things? I can sleep when I am dead.
I held this mindset for the longest time. If there was a drama to binge on, I’d gladly do it even if it meant sacrificing some sleep. If my friends wanted to chat till the wee hours of the morning, why not? All it meant was being a little more listless the following morning.
However, as I grew up, my priorities started to shift and I lost sleep over different reasons.
It is probably no surprise that one of these reasons includes my studies. I still recall that the rigour of my academic life reached a peak in my junior college days. Each day brought about a new challenge and there was an endless amount of work to complete.
The funny thing was that I actually thought I had it all together in the beginning. Those horror stories of junior college didn’t faze me and I felt equipped to take on the battle. Junior college was only 2 years. How hard could it be?
It turns out the joke was on me.
In hindsight, it probably started with the lectures. While I devoted my full attention to the lecturer, his words seemed to be in a different language. I couldn’t grasp the concepts and each lecture felt like a struggle.
These struggles spilled over and I had to set aside time after school to revisit the topics. Despite that, I still wasn’t the best at my studies and that was reflected in my less-than-stellar results.
Try as I might to deny it, the poor results definitely dealt me a blow. I started making up for it by dedicating more time to my studies. Even if it meant eating into my precious sleep time, I told myself I was alright with that.
Thereafter ensued the days of frenzy, with a 2am-6am sleeping schedule, and the rest of my waking hours spent studying. What a way to maximise my time, isn’t it?
Cause and Effect
I thought I could go on forever like this. I believed that I was a superhero who could achieve the impossible and thrive on limited sleep. At times, I even tried to make light of the issue with the phrase, “sleep is for the weak”.
That was until I started to suffer the repercussions of my actions. As the days went past, I became increasingly listless and started to nod off during lessons. My attention span became shorter and I found myself losing focus easily.
It was then that I came to a realisation that I wasn’t saving time at all. In spite of the popular sayings disregarding the importance of sleep, it actually was important. Without sufficient sleep, I was living my life like a zombie and that just didn’t make sense.
From that point onwards, I made a silent promise to myself to always prioritise sleep. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we need sleep to survive. There is always time tomorrow and I just need to constantly remind myself of that.
Sleep is the best meditation.
– Dalai Lama