The Importance of Sleep

Blog No. 253

giphyBack when I was in high school, a good night’s sleep was a solid six hours. If I managed five, I was good to go. Sure, I’d struggle to stay focused, but high school Ben didn’t really care about things like that. To be fair, most of it was probably my fault. Drinking pop too late, watching TV until my parents forced me to bed, listening to loud music all night, leaving important things (like homework) until the last minute (or to be honest, unfinished). And, who knows what else I could have been doing to contribute to the issue. The fact was, though, that I struggled to sleep, and it didn’t seem to be detrimental to anything (except for my attitude if you ask my parents). It was just the way things were and I thought that was part of me forever. (Except for on the weekends and in summer when I’d sleep all day).

By the time I hit college and university (and started doing my work) the late nights continued, but I spent more nights out of the house. I wasn’t the type to go out every night, but the bar scene was different. Each night was dedicated to a different bar (usually based on who was playing music or what special they had going on). Pitchers were more common than pints, and a group of friends could socialize all night on six-bucks-a-piece, stay sober, and head home some time between midnight and one (we all had classes in the morning). I was one of the people who managed to actually get to class, and while I didn’t hit every night out, my sleeping was possibly worse. Since the high school days, work was added into the mix and late nights slinging subs or renting movies kept me up too. It didn’t seem to matter, though. I could catch up on Saturday.

100_979484270By the time I was in teacher’s college (briefly away from home) the late nights started taking their toll. I had smartened up enough to force myself to get to bed a bit earlier (comparatively) but sleep was still less consistent. Six hours was still enough, but just, and too many of those nights in a row and I’d be sunk. I could pull the odd five hour night, but even one would knock me on my butt, The stakes were also higher, in general. I had lessons to plan, homework to do, a job to pay rent, and (gasp) my own laundry to do. There were nights that, no matter what I did, I couldn’t sleep at all (I’ve always had them periodically) but I found the lack of sleep would cause me to collapse when I got home. The extra drive to another town didn’t help either (my placement school was about forty minutes away).

It’s been quite a few years since then, and while I can still pull a six hour night when I have to (I’ll say comicons and game nights) man, do I feel it the next day. Today (as you can guess) is one of those days. Over the weekend, I had a particularly early morning for work. It set me back days. Then I had another, slightly less early day, and the panic caused me to miss even those six meager hours I still cling to as a standard. Today is a rough one, and I have so much to do. What does any of this have to do with writing? How am I going to write (or write well) when I’m so flipping tired? I know I’ll manage to find some sleep and while you never truly catch up, a nap can be a magical thing. It just takes more and more all the time. I kind of miss those high school days of late nights and little sleep, but I think I may be paying for it now.

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