Stop Measuring Your Success With Your Lack Of Sleep

Stop Measuring Your Success With Your Lack Of Sleep

Sleep away your stress!


As the well-known Asher Roth anthem "I Love College" goes, "Pass out at 3:00, wake up at 10:00 / Go out to eat and then do it again"- the lifestyle of putting sleep at the bottom of one's priorities in college is all too familiar. Though many aren't spending their time partying like those in the song, sleep is something rarely had on college campuses because of habits that start as early as middle school. My 8th-grade cousin described her encounter with anti-sleep culture to me when she told me that it's common for her and her friends to stay up until midnight doing homework while chatting over various social media platforms.

In high school, I wouldn't have batted an eye at someone telling me they went to bed at 4:00 AM. With difficult classes and a million extracurriculars, it seemed impossible to establish a healthy, normal bedtime. I myself made it a habit of going to bed right after I came home from Cross Country practice only to wake up at 2:00 AM to do all of my homework then go straight to school. For me, 3 to 5 hours of sleep was the norm. Looking back, as a college student who now gets 8 hours or more of sleep a night, I realize how unhealthy that practice was. My hair started to fall out in the shower, I could barely make it through a class without falling asleep, and I now feel as if the anxiety and extreme sadness I endured spring semester of my senior year (to be discussed in another article) was only exacerbated by my lack of sleep.

But why? Why did I endure all of the negative side effects of sleep deprivation when I could have just gone to bed earlier? The easy answer is procrastination. But the harder answer comes with asking why once more: Why did I procrastinate? Why, still, does everyone I know in college wait at least until 12:00 to start their homework and refuse to retire to their bed anytime earlier than 4:00 AM.

I can only speak my truth, but I think there's a certain pride in being the model example of the depressed, sleep-deprived, high achieving student. This early competitiveness in sleep deprivation seems to mimic the revelations of the workplace and super-adults who claim to rule the world on minimal sleep- Marissa Mayer, former CEO and president of Yahoo!, clocks out her sleeping time at 4 hours, Indra Nooyi (chief executive of PepsiCo) sleeps for the same amount, and President Trump boasts of getting only 3-4 hours a night.

In the way prominent business leaders equate their exhaustion to a measure of their hard work, it seems as if we, the aspiring professionals, have come to do so as well.

This habit is all at the expense of our health, mental well-being, and ability to be successful in the workplace. Professor Russell Foster at the University of Oxford says that we have become too arrogant in our ignorance of sleep, and that soon our rebellion against the clock will come back to bite us whether it be by falling asleep at the wheel, during an important meeting, or even just losing track of mind and missing a critical moment at work- is this really worth the artificial feeling of accomplishment we get from the dark bags under our eyes?

Though it's easy to measure success with sleep deprivation, I'm challenging myself and those around me to accomplish what seems to me to be an even more difficult task: reorganizing my schedule to get enough sleep. Sure, the exhaustion of long hours staring at the blue light of my computer feel gratifying, but hitting the pillow after a jam-packed day will feel even better.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.


I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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