but not in the cute teenager way of staying up until five in the morning and then sleeping in until three in the afternoon. I’m addicted in the way that, two nights ago, I fell asleep at 1:30 in the morning, slept in yesterday until 10:30, and lay in bed awake until 11:30. I finally dragged myself out of bed, ate food, stared at my biochemistry textbook while I waited for my coffee to finish brewing, drank it while watching reruns of Daria, and then took a two-hour nap. I fell asleep last night at 10:45.
The average amount of sleep a typical adult needs ranges from seven to nine hours, with the exact number being highly variable and widely disputed. Some argue that the amount of sleep doesn’t matter so much, as long as it is consistent each night. Still, I theorize that when your total number of hours asleep (or laying awake with your eyes closed trying to sleep more) is higher than your total numbers awake and in a vertical position, there might be a problem.
Sleep started becoming a problem for me in high school. With school, clubs, marching/concert band, and a part-time job, I was just as sleep-deprived as everyone else. I discovered the joy of napping sophomore year, when I would lay my head down on my desk for ten minutes before leaving for evening band practice. Gradually, these naps became longer and moved to my bed.
Stress started getting the better of me, and I began using sleep as an escape mechanism. I would look forward to coming home from school so that I could take a three-hour nap and forget about all the exams I had to study for, the papers I had to write, the homework assignments, the projects, the people I hated at school, and the married teacher that I was positive I was in love with. Friday nights when I had no plans, I would take a nap around 7:30, not wake up until 2:30, and then just go back to sleep until morning. Surprisingly, my parents didn’t seem too worried about it. They probably just saw it as typical teenager behavior.
Now I go through phases with it. When given the option, I will always choose sleep over not sleeping, but if I have a lot of work to do, and the work is manageable, or life feels like it’s going okay, or I overdose enough on coffee, I can stay awake and get stuff done. Otherwise, just the idea of doing anything other than sleeping seems so daunting that I just blow through it so that I can sleep, or I push everything aside and take a nap, chanting to myself that naps increase productivity.
I go through a daily ritual with myself where I hardly get anything done during the day, planning on doing it when I get home in the evening. I get home, and then I tell myself that I’m too tired to do it and that I’ll be better suited to get it done after being well rested, so I’ll go to sleep with the intent of waking up early to get it done. In the morning, I sleep in, telling myself that it’s really not that much that needs to get done, I’ll have plenty of time, I need to be well rested for it, blah, blah, blah, and the cycle repeats.
Oversleeping causes a person to crave more sleep, and I’m sure my oversleeping habit is fueled by depression and then becomes a self-perpetuating downward spiral that just leads me back to more depression. I read somewhere that a slight sleep deprivation causes the brain to release endorphins, which actually makes a person feel better. I’ve been meaning to try this out for a while now, but I fail every single day. Now I am determined to do this because my addiction is becoming a chronic problem that is affecting other areas of my life, and I can’t afford for it to get any worse. Therefore, for this week, my goal is to wake up at 7:00am every weekday morning and stay up until 12:00am each night. This will keep me within the recommended sleep range while giving me more awake hours to get things done. I’ve failed every single other time I tried this, but I’m thinking that publicizing my goal will help make me more accountable, which might help.
Does anyone else have this problem and/or have any advice for dealing with it or overcoming it? Any suggestions at all would be very much appreciated. I’m thinking I’ll need all the help I can get on this one. Also, if you’re currently struggling with this problem, hit me up. Maybe we can support each other or just complain to each other about how badly we want to take a nap right now.