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Forget sleep – it’s college, sleep is over-rated

April 30th, 2009

A friend of mine always says, “You’ll sleep when you’re dead.” And he’s right; life is too short to spend all of your time in bed, when there are more important things to do. But, sometimes you reach a point where you’re just so tired that simple tasks seem like the biggest endeavors you’ll ever face. I’ve reached that point.

Last week I had approximately 24 hours of sleep. That’s less than half of the recommended 49 to 56 hours that one should get over the course of seven days. This is pretty standard for me; generally I get about four hours of shut-eye per night (if I’m lucky), with the exception of Tuesdays.

Thanks to this wonderful publication you’re currently reading, I’ve been entirely deprived of any sleep on Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings. That’s not to say that spending 15 plus consecutive hours with my lovely staff on Tuesday night (our print deadline night) isn’t entertaining, but let’s face it, getting out of the office before the sun comes up on Wednesday would be rather amazing. (It’s a goal I hope to achieve some time next semester.)

Over the course of my years at Carroll, I’ve become accustomed to sleep deprivation, as I’m sure many of my peers have as well. In high school, I took my eight hours per night for granted, not realizing that someday a full night’s rest would become as elusive as the tooth fairy is to a 4-year-old.

In all honesty, I don’t necessarily mind my sleep deprivation. While I cherish my slumber time, each hour that I spend awake, I accomplish something. So, it isn’t as if I’m wasting my time.

Sure I could drop an extracurricular activity or opt out of one of my jobs, but let’s face it, we’re in college. If higher education teaches us anything outside of the classroom, it’s how to survive with the least amount of sleep possible.

It’s funny, prior to college I couldn’t function after staying up all night. Sleep was essential – kind of like eating or bathing. Now, sleep is more of a privilege than a need.

Caffeine and coffee, more specifically cappuccino and Pepsi, have become my main sources of energy. The foamy goodness of a French-vanilla cappuccino has become a prerequisite to the start of my day. And, the tried and true pop machines cater to my mid-day/evening/wee hours of the morning caffeine needs.

Earlier this year and last, I was spending just shy of $4 a day on Starbucks, but as my nights of rest became less frequent, I began to realize that my bank account just couldn’t handle such a luxury. Thus, I quickly discovered that a $1.19 machine-made pick-me-up from my local gas station could provide the same affects as the over-priced venti latte from Starbucks.

I am not the biggest fan of coffee. It isn’t a taste that I crave, or something that I simply must have. However, without it, I fear I would be dead to the world – a walking zombie.

For these reasons, I simply can’t wait for summer. While I will be working full time and participating in an internship or two, it will be the first time in many moons that I’ll be able to go home and not have anything that I absolutely have to get done.

My jobs don’t require any type of “homework” and my internships shouldn’t require much at-home effort. I look forward to being able to leave my work at work and come home to my bed – my dear old friend. Sleep and I have been separated for some time now, and I look forward to May 8, when we can reunite for a full eight hours of uninterrupted snoozing.