Struggling through school half-asleep

October 22, 2021 — by Jonathan Si
Photo by Minsui Tang
Why sleep when you can take periodic naps throughout the day?

Since entering high school, I’ve found my bedtime pushed back further and further. Maybe it’s because of the increased workload or because my parents are no longer enforcing my bedtime, but going to sleep at 3 a.m. has basically become a norm for me. 

Freshman year wasn’t so bad: I had little to no homework and stuck to my healthy middle school habit of sleeping from   10 p.m. to 8 a.m. In retrospect, being able to stay alert and soak all the information in every class was a privilege. 

Facing the pandemic as a sophomore, I was granted the luxury of one hour classes and an asynchronous work day in the middle of each week.  Not only were my school hours shorter, but I also felt lazier and more lethargic: I didn’t start working on homework until 10 p.m.

I was able to get away with slacking off for two years, but now, as a junior, I actually have to drive to school and stay alert through six to eight hours of in-person classes. With a heavier workload and longer school hours, you’d think that I would adjust and start working responsibly and getting  more rest, right? Well, not really. 

Granted, I do work diligently four to five hours a day, but only after I wake up from my three-hour nap and browse the entirety of the internet — I still don’t start my work until 10 p.m. 

Consequently, the four to five hours of homework that should have ended at 11 p.m. now extends to 3 a.m.; after completing my homework, I proceed to crash onto my bed, regretting my procrastination and dreading the short five hours of sleep I’ll be getting.

Surprisingly enough, I’m not the type to fall asleep during class just because I’m tired. More often than not, after a slow start during the first class of the day, I gradually become more active — “active,” of course, being a relative term. 

But even if I don’t seem tired, it’s not as if my alertness is at an all time high. If I’m not careful, it only takes a few seconds for me to tune out the droning of a lecture to get whisked into a daydream about how productive I’ll be when I get home. Unfortunately, when I do get home, I realize I can’t do anything in my tired state. Instead, I proceed to nap for three hours straight. 

The only positive I can see in my current sleep schedule is how fast I’m able to fall asleep. In middle school, it used to take me almost an hour. Now, since my body is typically running on four hours of sleep, I fall unconscious the minute my head hits the pillow.

Fortunately, most of my grades have not suffered tremendously from my sleep schedule. Granted, we’re only a few months into the school year, but I’d like to think that I’ve been able to keep up — I pride myself on having 100 percent in the homework category of all of my classes. 

I’m able to manage through the week, but by Friday my building exhaustion becomes increasingly overwhelming and I can feel myself lagging behind. Over the weekend, I catch up by getting a solid eight hours of sleep per night. By the time Monday rolls around, I’m all stocked up on sleep, ready to once again begin my vicious 3 a.m sleep cycle.

Trust me, in senior year, it’ll get better. Maybe I should supplement my exhausting sleep schedule by getting addicted to coffee. 

1 view this week