I grew up learning that getting eight or more hours of sleep was the only pathway to success. Getting less than the doctor-recommended amount of shuteye would apparently lead to an overall lesser amount of productivity, emotional mood swings and an inclination to consume a million unnecessary calories.
Nevertheless, when I was younger, I hated to sleep. It didn’t upset me that sleeping would inevitably cause me to miss out on other activities; I just vehemently despised sleeping for the very sake of despising it.
In elementary school, my parents -- extremely unreasonable, obviously -- forced me to my bed by 8 p.m., and if the gods had presented me with their favor that night, 8:30pm.
I remember angrily dragging my body to bed and using my very solid, 8-year-old logic in a fruitless attempt to convince my parents to let me stay up to whatever hour I desired. I even abhorred my second grade teacher for scheduling daily naps into our schooldays and always scoffed at the classmate who received a piece of candy for winning “Best Napper.”
However, a little more than a decade later I am very proud to say that I now value sleep to a degree that even my second grade teacher would probably believe a little unnecessary.
At times, I tell my friends that looking forward to sleeping or taking a nap is the best part of my life. Most react to this statement by laughing out of bemusement and assuming this is just another lame attempt at trying out future Saturday Night Live punchlines. Never do they realize just how serious I am.
A perfect example of how far my true love extends is this past spring break. Instead of attending foam parties in Fort Lauderdale, I very happily fell asleep by 9:30 p.m. two nights in a row and even spent 14 consecutive hours deep in REM land on one of the days. I also consistently annoyed my parents to no end whenever I spontaneously drifted off in the passenger car seat beside them.
My appreciation for sleeping even extends so far that I don’t even need a bed to get a few moments of quality slumber. My frequent bouts of falling asleep on the floor of my sister’s bedroom undoubtedly proved this.
Perhaps I sound like a delusional 19-year-old who has misplaced her priorities. However, as a severely sleep-deprived and hilariously over-committed college student who usually manages to sleep a maximum of five hours on most nights, I longingly reminisce about my younger days.
If only I had the luxury to choose between sleeping and staying up. Maybe I’d even do my second grade teacher proud and finally earn that piece of candy.