Sleep? I Don’t Know Her

My early relationship with success was not a healthy one. It revolved around nights that ended in the early morning hours and meals that consisted of hot steaming mugs of coffee and little else. It was an era masked by meticulously applied makeup and bookended by the facade of having the organizational prowess of a high functioning CEO or sociopath (you decide).

For the majority of my teen life, I actively allowed myself to exist in a state of perpetual exhaustion. And for whatever reason, I was content. I was running on fumes, by choice, for years. I would regularly forget to eat, run from one thing to the next, and complete assignments right before dawn. And perhaps due to good grades, the blessing of a fantastic immune system, or simply the distraction of a busy schedule, I considered myself to be not only productive, but healthy. 

It wasn't until my second year of college that my lifestyle began to catch up to me. My body started to fail, and I was soon on a first name basis with the staff at the UC Davis Health Center. I could no longer run on three or four hours of sleep and be energetic, let alone be productive. 

Image source: Pexels, Miesha Moriniere

Somewhere along the span of my two-decade long life, I was given the impression that busyness meant success. Our society romanticizes exhaustion; it has evolved into a new twisted chic. A modern woman is created for us; impeccably put together, overwhelmingly successful in all that she does, phone in one hand, coffee in the other (Devil Wears Prada, anyone?). Endless work, phone calls, and meetings are deemed equivalent with societally constructed success, which implies economic success, as well. This thought process is the norm for our world and its impact is widespread. 

In an increasingly competitive world, we have been told to "work hard" our entire lives. While writing this article, I googled some "inspirational" quotes, aimed to motivate students. The results are staggering: "Are your excuses more important than your dreams?" and "Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you" stood out. I must say here that I am in strong support of academically successful and driven lifestyles. It is true: one must put in the time and the energy in order to achieve results. That being said, it is not necessary to run yourself ragged in the process. 

On campus, you can always overhear the conversations, "I pulled an all-nighter last night" combined with "I got an A on my quiz" and so on. Instinctively, there is a twinge of awe, perhaps even jealousy, as we naturally have been programmed to believe that late nights correlate to productivity and therefore, academic success. 

Exhaustion is not equivalent to commitment. It should not be lauded or aspired to. We should applaud and admire those in our lives who are balanced, and strive to do the same. A sense of self, a healthy sleep schedule and well-balanced (or as balanced as possible) diet, not caffeine, are the real steps to creating a foundation for success. 

As the end of winter quarter quickly approaches (start the SQ countdown!), try to sleep as much as possible. It's SO necessary. Grades come and go. And most importantly… spring break is right around the corner!!

Image source: Pexels, Flo Dahm

Cover image source: Pexels