I roll over on the bed. Slapping at my square alarm clock, it slips away from the desk and tumbles onto the floor. I groan and lean down towards the floor, looking at the now-lit screen of the plastic box. Reading the time to be 3:31 AM, I flip myself onto my back and let out a deep sigh, leaving the clock on the floor. I’ll pick it up in four and a half hours when my alarm actually goes off.
Sleep eludes me at the traditional times of the night, yet it swims around my head in the early afternoon. Along with the question of why my coffee is always gone, I wonder why my internal time clock is wacked off its table.
In past semesters, my go-time to get things done was right after classes ended and right after dinner. The evenings were left for relaxation, family phone calls and binge-watching “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Now, my schedule has completely flipped. After almost six months of dealing with it, how am I not used to it?
I feel like I’m stuck in tar, and every time I try to get out of the sticky rut, it snaps me back. And it’s not a gradual process, either. It happens each day around 2:00 or 3:00, and it’s like I come under a spell, making me suddenly so exhausted and sluggish that I can barely stay awake in my afternoon classes.
You can say it’s the change of the season that brings such dreary weather, seasonal depression or even this never-ending pandemic, but I think it’s a combination of multiple things. Learning online requires less energy, so maybe I’m just lazy. I’m not exercising as much as I used to, so that could definitely be something affecting my energy levels.
And yes, sure, I know other people are experiencing this sort of exhausted state, and it can also be called feeling burnt-out, so call it what you like. I’ve seen people passed out in the library, at Post 95, and at the science center, so I know it’s not just me who takes unplanned naps in locations other than their room. Heck, I’ve been shaken awake when I told my friend to meet me at the library, and by the time they arrived, I was snoozing on my laptop.
It’s weird, really. Now that my tiredness beckons in the afternoon, my alertness shifts into the wee hours of the dark. I’m productive, efficient and yet encourage myself to stay up, continuing the unhealthy habit.
They say it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. My new sleep schedule has been going strong since late March, so I think I more than qualify.
So, if any of you have any tips on breaking this habit, believe me, I’ll try them. Just make sure I’m awake enough to listen.