Rest easy

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Why we shouldn’t be ashamed for getting more than enough sleep

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. October 21, 2015

We all know the importance of sleep. The benefits are countless, yet still we often place shame upon ourselves for getting enough or more than enough sleep. We should feel blessed and prosperous for having an ample amount of rest each and every day. No person should feel ashamed for having too much, just like how nobody should feel ashamed for having wealth.

Now, as you can tell, I enjoy sleeping. I don’t believe there is anything better than a good night’s rest. I even dare to say that we are born to sleep, although it is challenging for some. I’m proud of my ability to sleep easily, because I know of those who are insomniacs. But just because I sleep well, many chalk it up to me being lazy. Although I can be lazy often, I believe sleep has been the secret sauce to my survival as a well-adapted human being.

All my life I have lived by the philosophy that no matter what I have to do tomorrow morning, such as an exam, long drive, or championship game, I’ll perform best after a good sleep. A UCLA research study showed that staying up all night and cramming is a waste of time and energy compared to habitual studying. While you may trick yourself into believing otherwise, staying up all night reading textbooks is undoubtedly detrimental. Sacrificing sleep means you aren’t letting your body and mind rest and heal. This can cause illnesses, forgetfulness, depression, and many, many more not-so-surprising effects. There is no pride in staying up all night, just like there shouldn’t be pride for drinking recklessly or driving quickly.

On weekends, some people like to go on long road trips or whatever. Me, I prefer to sleep in, and if I can’t do that, I’d like to take a nap. This is often frowned upon, because we live in a seize-the-day society. Any moment not spent being productive is wasted time, time that you’ll never get back. That, to me, is bullshit, and such an awful way of living. The thing about resting is that, when I am awake, I am twice as effective as I would be if I were burning oil all day, into midnight and beyond.

The ability to get sleep and sleep well should be admired and cherished. Many of us are so stressed all the time with commitments and deadlines, and the first thing we chop from our schedule is sleep. If you want to go out after work, you’ll have to lose some sleep. If you want to finish your project, have a drink with friends, and beat the next level in your video game, you’ll have to sacrifice some sleep. But what’s the point of all of that if you feel shitty all the time?

One of the seven deadly sins is sloth, the crime of indolence, apathy, and refusal to work. Somehow we’ve paired it up with the idea of having ample rest, as if rest itself is a sin. It’s not. It’s a right. It doesn’t matter if you are a single mother of three or a medical student who also works part time, you can sleep. You should.

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