The immense machoism or coolness attached to staying up till late night or being night owls has always amused me. It may have started with a necessity: some college project, hostel habits, exams, an important office presentation; but when it ends up becoming a habit, it could drive you towards hell. Thousands of research studies with lakhs of samples prove that lack of proper sleep (7 to 8 hours) is unproductive and unhealthy, leading to risks of depression, accidents, and even deaths.
A study shows that moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication. After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance was equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. (via Huffington Post) Basically, the traffic guy should also ask you, ‘Have you had enough sleep?’ just like he asks, ‘Are you drunk?’
I sympathise with people who wish to sleep, yet find it difficult to sleep, even after switching off their phones or keeping them aside (Must try: charge your phones away from your bed to be able to recharge yourself for the next day). If you have the luxury or lifestyle which allows you to sleep during the day— while night being your most productive time, it’s still understandable. My argument is not against day or night’s sleep. My argument is that sleep is non-negotiably essential. But an arrogant night owl is just stupid. In fact, we shouldn’t use the word “owl” here at all, because owls are really smart creatures!
I come from a family that sleeps at 10. As a child, I was always motivated encouraged/forced (depending on my level of denial to sleep) as early as possible. It was very difficult to understand why my otherwise loving parents would come for my life if I didn’t sleep by 10. Eventually, I got into the habit of sleeping early. Even today, if I am awake at 11, I might be the only person awake. And if I don’t wake by 7, I might be the only person sleeping. This conversation acts like a good ice-breaking for me, most of the times. People are shocked when they hear this. I don’t feel I miss out on anything. Yes, perhaps I would have missed out on TV series. I am not into TV series. I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, House of Cards, House, Orange is the New Black, etc etc. I watched FRIENDS and such shows during college times but later priorities changed. You’d say I don’t know what I am missing. I’d say it’s my choice- to read more, see more early mornings, meditate and be with my family. Also, I find my balance by waking up early. I am a morning person. Regardless of my sleeping schedule, I have a good social circle and have always had friends who respect my space. I am lucky.
It is only recently when I read Arianna Huffington’s book ‘The Sleep Revolution’, I came to know about the fact that lack of sleep hampers growth in children more than at any other age. Today, I can’t thank my parents enough for inculcating this biological clock in me.
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