Sleep When You’re Dead

One topic which has been on my mind a lot lately is sleep. In these last few weeks of the first semester, we are all pushing our physical, mental and emotional limits in an attempt to crank out our final papers, portfolios and presentationsm, and to cram for final exams. My roommate and I have been pushing our lights-out time back further and further, to the point where I’ve become convinced that we will eventually become fully nocturnal. In discussing this phenomenon a few days back, he said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Well, my friend, if you keep avoiding rest, those words might come back to bite you.

unmade bed

When Arianna Huffington came to speak at Penn a few weeks ago, she spent a good portion of her talk on the importance of sleep. She recounted a story of when she worked so many consecutive nights that she collapsed from exhaustion, bruised her head and had to get stitches. She also discussed the negative effects of sleeping with electronic devices nearby. Hearing these words of wisdom from such an influential figure had a profound impact on me. It really caused me to reevaluate my sleeping habits.

sleeping cat

Penn is a restless place. We are all aware of that. We are in one of the most bustling, vibrant cities in the entire country, on a campus with something to do at literally every hour of the day and night. As students, we might feel pressure to fully enjoy the college experience which, to many, implies not missing a single waking moment. From the minute we set foot on campus during NSO, the four-year clock to graduation starts counting down. As the seconds go by, the ticking grows louder and louder until our heads are filled with a cacophony of doubts and regrets. If we took the time to actually listen, however, we might be able to drown out the noise and subsequently enjoy the passing seconds more fully.

The vast majority of Fisher Hassenfeld residents are freshmen. Thus, as this semester comes to a close, most of us have completed the first eighth of our college experience. Many, including myself, panic at the mention of this. Tick… Where did the time go? I remember orientation like it was yesterday. Tock… I’m just getting used to my classes and now I’m going to be taking an entirely new set of them. Tick… I’m exhausted, but I have too much to do to sleep. Tock… I want to go to every party and meet every one of my classmates and …tick… sit in on every class and do independent research and …tock… study abroad and visit all of Philly’s landmarks and …tick… join a club dodgeball team and audition for a play …tock… but I won’t have time if I sleep. Tick

cool clock face

And so, this vicious cycle continues until we either OD on coffee or pass out from exhaustion.  The ticking will continue. It may get louder and faster, but without a clear and well-rested head it will seem so much worse. We all know that someday the ticking will stop and the alarm will sound. College doesn’t have a snooze button. All we can do is enjoy the time while we have it, but unless we get some sleep, that simply is not possible. Remember, especially in these challenging final weeks of the semester, the importance of sleep. Success is not possible without rest. Put on some PJs, turn off the lights and sink into the sheets. The experiences will wait for you.

Tick… tock… tick… tock…

bed photo by emdot, cat photo by kaibara87 , clock photo by Dave Stokes (all photos used under a Creative Commons license)
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