Sometimes you have to go through a personal experience in order to fully understand something, rather than hear it from others. Ever since I was a little girl being up late and nightlife always fascinated me. I used to think that being up after a certain time meant that special occurrences would happen. Some of my wild thoughts as a young child included me picturing my parents having a party with only adults allowed. All of their friends would come over while I was supposed to be asleep.
In my mind I would envision every last one of my parents friends huddled together in my living room. The lights were bright and I could see the brightness peer into my dark room from under my door. Of course there were refreshments, board games, and music. The strangest part was that I could not hear anything. Lying down in bed that night I could picture the entire party happening, the smiles on their faces and vivid expressions, but it was almost like a silent film. I could not hear any one speak nor could I hear the music or sound from the television.
Now that I am older I always think back on that old thought I had and I wonder if the reason I was not able to hear them was because (in my mind) they did not want me to wake up and discover their secret party. Because my parents did not allow me to stay up past nine, it peaked my curiosity even more to find out what was so great about being up during the night. Another reason I thought they wanted me to go to bed early was because nighttime was considered dangerous, or at least that is how I perceived it.
After my mom would tuck me in she would usually tell me “It is not a good thing to be up after certain hours of the night, you need your sleep”. Hearing this, and feeling the way she tightly tucked me under the covers as if to protect me, made me believe that dangerous people only come out at night. Of course some parts of these thoughts I had as a child were quite preposterous. I later learned that none of this was true; dangerous people do come out at night, but they also come out in the day. I also realized that nothing spectacular happened during the hours I was once told to be asleep.
It often puzzles me thinking back on my sleeping habits as a child. Because I had no choice, I was forced to go to sleep at an early time. I sometimes wonder how would things have turned out if I kept my same sleeping habits at age five. These days I find that I am often tired and fighting to stay awake all because of my late sleeping habits. Thinking back, my late sleeping habits began with my curiosity as a child. After my mom told me I could not stay up after 9:00pm there came a point in my life possibly around age seven when they became more lenient with my strict sleeping habits.
This was when it dawned on me that there was absolutely no big deal about being up late. I remember on weekends my family and I would stay up until 4:00 a. m. watching movies. As I grew older it became a habit for me to stay up late hours of the night. Another time I remember was when I was twelve and I stayed up the entire night to do a science project that was due the next day. My best friend and I were stuck trying to complete the project since we procrastinated, and we were communicating on instant message at the same time. Even though we were in a crisis I still remember how funny that night was.
Although we had a project due the next day we were doing a million things at once. Not only were we chatting while finishing the project, but we were also watching television. I remembered during that time period Vh1 would play music videos after a certain time during the night. Because I did not mind listening to music and doing my work, I left the channel on. After a while I became stunned by this one video that appeared. The song was by Fiona Apple and it was called “Not about love” the video had to be one of the strangest things I have ever witnessed at that point in my life.
It was basically about this bearded chubby guy (Zack Galifianakis) lip syncing in bed to Fiona’s song and dancing in the neighborhood while he continues to lip sync. The entire thing was creepy to me because Fiona’s music has a very eerie and commanding vibe, in which the piano featured on the song was played with mostly minor chords and had a scary demeanor about it. Hearing this being sung by a man with a creepy beard at four in the morning was not a very positive experience. I remember sending the video to my best friend and telling her if I have to suffer from fright after watching this then so do you.
She hated me for a hile that night but I am pretty sure karma came around when she finished before me and I was up by myself until 6:00 am. This was the time I usually woke up to get ready for school. That day in school I remembered getting through the day feeling like a zombie and constantly falling asleep in class and at the cafeteria. Everyone that day asked me over and over if I was okay. Although staying up took a toll on my body the next day, something within me was addicted to being up late. My late sleeping habits over the years would not only leave me feeling drowsy during class, but it also contributed to my lateness.
My grades eventually dropped as a result of me not being able to concentrate. I also realized that because I was not getting as much rest during the night, I would sleep as soon as I got home, causing me to be up late at night hence continuing the cycle. To this day I am still unsure as to why I stay up when I know I should be asleep. Sometimes I would feel extremely sleepy but still could not find a way to get to bed. It is almost as if I rather stay up, because whatever I am doing at the moment seems more interesting than sleep could possibly ever be. Even though I think like this, I actually enjoy sleeping.
There have been many pros and cons of my bad sleeping habits. However the cons seem to outweigh the pros in this scenario. The pros to staying up late would be catching up with my friends, since we all have conflicting schedules and we usually talk and keep each other’s company at night. Another pro would be studying. I find that I study a lot better during the night as opposed to day. The last positive reason I have for staying up late would be discovering new things. I have noticed during the night I stumble across more information such as news, because I am usually surfing the Internet.
The cons I have noticed while staying up are the fact that I am usually tired the next day depending upon how many hours of sleep I had. Another con would be that sometimes I am not able to concentrate fully in my morning classes. I usually get through the day feeling weak and sluggish. One other negative reason is that I tend to be very grumpy sometimes due to my lack of sleep, sometimes causing me to get into arguments with my boyfriend and parents. Although I am used to staying up late I still believe I need to make a few adjustments to my sleep cycle. My mother and father have been telling me for a while that I should go to bed earlier.
My mom is always concerned and tells me “You need to get a good amount of sleep so you can focus in school tomorrow”. I usually just nod my head and continue repeating the same cycle as before. My father would scold me from time to time as well. I remember one time during my high school years I was up around two in the morning. He got out of bed to use the bathroom, and saw me talking on the phone. He threatened to take away my phone if I was not in bed by the time he was done using the bathroom. I understood I had class the next day, which was why he was upset but it still did not sink in that this was truly affecting me.
Nothing could stop me from my horrible habits. My parents explained to me that the most they can do is talk to me and tell me it is not a good thing to stay up late. My mother sat down with me one day and said “You are not going to understand that staying up late is bad until something bad happens, your dad and I want the best for you and we wish you would just listen. ” “I am fine, I feel fine, nothing is wrong, and it is not that serious that I am up late every day”. “We know you so well, we knew you would say that, of course you are fine now but in the long run this will catch up to you. “I will try to change my habits, but I am not making any promises, I understand you and dad are looking out for me but there is nothing to be worried about. Telling my mom that I would try to change my habits was hard. I ended up going to sleep earlier a few nights a week, but ultimately I went back to my old habits. Another person in my life who is constantly on my case about my sleeping habits is my boyfriend. From the very first day I remember being with him he would always ask me why I go to bed late, or suggest I go to bed earlier.
I can recall events from the beginning of our relationship in which he would tell me I should be going to sleep, and telling me how grumpy I would get often times when we hung out. This conversation made me re evaluate my bad habits and also lead me to think of what my parents were saying as well. I think one of the most vivid situations I can remember that allowed me to see how my habits interfered with my daily life was the time when we were hanging out in my room and my boyfriend said something really funny like the usual, but I did not laugh. It was indeed funny but I just felt unlike my self.
For some reason, I was not able to get the laugh out. It was a horrible situation because he saw that I was upset in which he kept trying to make me feel better, but I was not responding to it. He finally gave up and asked “ Is everything okay? ” “I do not know, I guess I don’t really feel like myself today” I said. “It’s probably because you haven’t gotten enough sleep this entire week” “I guess you’re right, I’m really tired. ” That day my boyfriend went home so I could get some rest and the whole time I laid in bed thinking how horrible I was.
All this time he and my parents have told me it would catch up to me and I did not understand up until now. Sometimes you do not see things as clearly when you are told, rather than when you experience it first hand. It finally occurred to me that I needed to catch up on my sleep and make some goals to help stick to the plan. Thankfully both my parents and boyfriend understand in which they both forgave me for not listening the first time around. Finally this lead me to embark on a new journey and change my late sleeping habits once and for all.
Looking back on the entire situation, I realized that many times I was up doing nothing really important. A lot of the things that were done in the middle of the night could have been done in the morning or the next day when I was well rested and fully charged. As of today I would like to think my late sleeping habits have improved. I no longer stay up all night. If I have to stay up late the latest I would stay up is 2:00 am. Even though I have made improvements I still believe I have a long way to go before I can be completely satisfied with my sleep cycle.
I think one of the reasons I am so concerned is because of both conversations I had with my parents and boyfriend. Although it took a while to sink in, I came to the conclusion that they were right and ultimately sometimes you have to think of how things will benefit you in the long run. In conclusion sometimes you must experience something first hand in order to fully grasp and understand what someone is trying to convey. In my case I had to experience the affects of my late sleeping habits on my own, in order for me to finally get that I needed to change my late sleeping patterns and live a healthier lifestyle.