As a child, your sleeping habits are most likely determined and maintained by a small group group of people: parents/guardian and yourself. Little autonomy is granted to the child. "Bedtime" is often well-calculated, factoring in today's activities, as well as tomorrow's, and other variables, such as food intake and the length of nap time. Every so often, when opportunities arise, this fixed time slot deviates, whether it is due to a late-night party, jet lag, or a sickness.
|How time changes... by Tiffany Robyn Soetikno|
With time, however, bedtime experiences as much change as the individual does. During a divorce, a child may sleep less because the parents are fighting audibly somewhere in the house. With the birth of a sibling, the child may not have as much cuddling time with his parents or guardian. With a death in the family, one may not be able to fall asleep as swiftly as he/she would if they had just gone to an amusement park.
Age also factors in. Before thirteen, I would sleep at 8 PM. Then, slowly, I began sleeping at 9 PM. Some nights, whilst in my teens, I would sleep at 10 or 11 PM. But rarely did that occur, especially on school nights. I successfully avoided pulling an all-nighter throughout high school and am still going strong even in college (knock on wood!) Rare nights, I would sleep at 4 AM, especially when my friends stayed over but that really only happened a few nights per year.
Much like other aspects of life, sleep often comes unappreciated.
About ten months ago, I began having trouble falling asleep. Personally, I don't mind waking up several times in the middle of the night as long as I could fall asleep swiftly. A constant dreamer, I cherished nightly visitors, perhaps even more than my real adventures. However, in February it took me more than two hours to fall asleep. Slowly, I learned to sleep at an earlier time, in order to factor in the time that might be lost. I would sleep at 8:30 PM and wake up at 5:30 AM, feeling rested and alert.
|Unable to Sleep! by Lili Liong|
After nights of good sleep, my productivity increased. I was able to read books quicker, write entries more frequently, and finish my assignments faster and better. But, clearly, it is not socially apt for a college student to be sleeping before 11 PM. I would leave events early or avoid watching evening shows. I started going to the city at an earlier time in order to get back before dinner. Though I had a strategy set in place, I also felt it tugging on my ankles much like a ball and chains would. Even so, whenever I deviate, I would rarely successfully reach the quality of sleep I wanted. So, I continue living this abnormal lifestyle. Yes, I am a baby and a grandma, as I sleep for long-periods of time and sleep earlier than people my age should. Yet, again, to each it's own.
Sleeping is both an intimate and a social act. Or it can be.
People judge me based on my schedule, but they won't be by my side, singing lullabies when I have been squirming in my bed for hours, unable to fall asleep.
So, here I am, a twenty-year-old who sleeps before 10 PM and, believe me, I am a much, much happier person that way.