Sleep is defined as a condition that repeats for several hours every night in which your body and mind are completely relaxed, resulting in rejuvenation or the feeling that you are refreshed and stress-free. Studies have shown that the average teenager needs about 9.25 hours of sleep each night, especially those of us at IMSA who are continuously using our brains.
So, I guess my question is, why is it that some of us at IMSA can function perfectly well with only about 3 hours of sleep each night, while others of us can barely sit up straight after getting 7 hours of sleep?
I’ve noticed lately that the IMSA campus creates an environment where sleep is a matter of perception. If the next day is going to be very important, with a lot of work and a lot of meetings, people are more bound to the idea of getting more sleep than usual so that they can get everything done the next day. But, say the next day isn’t anything special – students at IMSA are more likely to throw away blissful sleep simply because they don’t care about whether they can function or not the next morning.
For example, my roommate and I usually have no problem going to bed at 3 a.m. on a Thursday night, simply because the next day is Friday and we have the whole weekend to get things done. However, we’re motivated to go to bed much earlier on a Sunday night, because we still have a whole week of work in front of us. It’s not just us, though. There are a lot of people on campus who think similarly. Although this might just be the normal mindset of any human being, it seems to me that IMSA has changed our perception of the sleep-work ratio. It has become a delicate equation that each individual needs to solve for him or herself.
Because we’re all so focused on getting our work done and still getting those A’s, we don’t pay attention to what we’re physically doing to our bodies in terms of food and sleep. We take for granted the fact that if we’re working harder, we need to sleep more sometimes.
But this isn’t the case for everyone. Sleep at IMSA seems to be a relative idea, and different people can survive on varying amounts of it. This idea comes from the fact that everyone at IMSA already thinks that they’re smart enough, and everyone knows that they have everything in them to get good grades. As a result, people think they can even sacrifice essential things like sleep to still get by just fine.
After coming to IMSA, I’ve realized that sleep needs are something I need to define for myself. Whether sleep is something I use to completely refresh myself or to spare some time for my work, I still have to decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice on a daily basis. For everyone, it’s really just a matter of how you see yourself and what your personal sleep to work ratio really is. We factor in all the problems, work, and activities we have on a day to day basis to solve for the amount of sleep we personally think we need each day, and there we have it: our personal sleep formulas.
(featured image: http://www.healthy-magazine.co.uk/sleep-feminist-issue/)