This week I've been putting one of my most useful college skills to good use: forcing my brain to work without luxuries like sleep. My sleep volume has been on a slow, steady decline since March, and it's to the point now that sometimes falling asleep before 2:00 a.m. is just impossible.
It's incredibly frustrating, especially if you succumb to the temptation to keep checking the clock. (You're just torturing yourself, Pal.) I often wish that since I'm forced to stay awake that I at least had a cool reason for it, like I'm fighting a forest fire or doing something really fun and nerdy or coming up with brilliant solutions to the world's problems. But no, it's always just "I'm not tired," even if I've employed all of my tricks to stimulate sleep.
But insomnia has some nice advantages, once you stop trying to fight it. For instance, how many times have you wished you had more hours in the day? Even if it was just for some much-needed relaxation?
Insomnia can make that dream come true.
As a kid, I loved staying up late. The thrill of skirting the rules—even if they were just boring bedtime rules—made any activity more fun at night, whether it was playing cards, watching a movie, or jumping on the trampoline. The risk that your dad (on your mom's orders, of course) would come down the stairs and scare you half to death with his exasperated, sleepy threats was worth it because it added just a little extra flavor to your fun. (Though I do feel guilty now about depriving my parents of sleep—sorry guys! I'm sure I'll get my just reward some day.)
And that childlike excitement hasn't left me entirely—I still love the occasional late weeknight movie and marathon reading session. While all the bozos around me are effortlessly snoozing away, I'm having fun, and there's something wonderfully satisfying about enjoying the extra night hours only you were given.
The fun comes with a cost, of course, but I've always appreciated fun more when it wasn't free.