#SelfCare: I Need a Nap, Guys

People really encourage self-care these days, just as they should. After all, you only have one body and one mind, and I guess that totally wrecking them now probably won’t play out so well further down the road. Bodies are pretty useful, you know? Sometimes people talk about “self-care” in a health-based way, like making sure you exercise and drink enough water. Other times it’s more of a “treat yo self” deal, when you indulge in that Ben and Jerry’s that you do, in fact, deserve, or when you go out for a night on the town with the ladies. Both are important to overall well being, and it requires time and initiative to make them happen. But really, guys, we have to balance these two kinds of self-care with something just as important: please make sure you’re sleeping.

I feel like sleeping is a kind of bridge between healthy self-care and indulgent self-care. I know I need to sleep to live and everything, but boy-oh-boy, do I enjoy it too! I am very aware that it feels nearly impossible to get a decent amount of sleep while staying on top of your responsibilities (I, too, am an exhausted college student), but that doesn’t mean that we should completely give up on trying to allow ourselves sufficient rest. While I feel that a great deal of my lack of sleep is due to a hectic schedule, or sometimes professors that think endless assignments equate to learning, I am also reluctantly coming to the realization that I am a significant part of my sleep deprivation problem.

Again, it’s not all our faults that we’re super tired 24/7, but maybe we don’t have to sign up for twelve different clubs or go to all three hangouts we were invited to, this Friday. It’s okay to say no when you need to, and sometimes, you just really do need to. I’m all for taking opportunities when they’re there and pushing toward a better version of yourself, but you have to chill out, every once in a while, if you’d rather not burn out because, trust me, the all-nighters will eventually break you down. It’s just flat-out not good for you, whether you want to hear it or not.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you have a need to do something besides just work in order to fall asleep. I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, even when I’m totally beat, and school and life in general keep my brain racing late into the night. If I’ve been up until the wee hours of the morning, writing a paper, then I’ll probably conk out pretty fast because my body has limits and will shut down on me. But, on nights I have an average amount of homework, I just can’t seem to fall asleep with my latest assignment still fresh in my mind, and some mindless mobile games or an ASMR video usually has to follow the daily grind, before I can fall asleep. Otherwise, I just do that thing where you’re lying in the dark and hoping you can shut off your thoughts for a while, which, in my own personal experience, never seems to work very well.

Then again, if you’re really desperate and just can’t sleep at all, I guess that lying there with your eyes closed or meditating isn’t the worst idea. Try to address any regular restlessness or insomnia, but even heavy sleepers seem to get that one night, every once in a while, when sleep just won’t come. I’ve had some friends that seem to function pretty well on just a few hours of sleep, but I’m not going to encourage anyone to aim for that. I’m no doctor, but I do know that the whole recommended eight to ten hours thing is pretty important.

Sleeping in later than usual or taking a nap here and there does not make you lazy, and getting the amount of sleep you’re supposed to doesn’t mean that you’re not a busy person with an active life. It just means that you have achieved a minor miracle in the college world and that you should keep trying to do it for the sake of your health, happiness and sanity. Our bodies have limits, and we need to start respecting them.

Take care of yourself, folks. I’m going to go take a nap now.