A Step Forward #5


Shane McGinnis

Illustration By Miranda Sepúlveda

I want to start this blog off by making sure it is known that I am writing this at a reasonable daytime hour. Now you might be asking yourself:Why is he disclosing this seemingly irrelevant piece of information to us, the readers? It’s only important because I am not working past midnight. For this week’s topic, we’re going to circle around to my favorite nighttime activity: getting a good night’s sleep. 

When thinking back to my freshman year of college, I remember doing all of the essential student activities. I sat in class in a lecture hall, paid a lot of money for a small number of books and of course, stayed up until 2:00 a.m. finishing my homework. It is safe to say that going to bed late and waking up early for class was not the best practice. I caught up on missed sleep with naps throughout the day, whether they were planned or accidental.  

Now with a busy work schedule, a full slate of classes and the running that’s continuing from a few blogs ago, sleep is more essential than ever. I can’t fall asleep for an hour in the afternoon when I need to log on to a Zoom call. I can’t lie in bed until 10:00 a.m. if the morning is the only time open for a training run that day. 

Due to the busier schedule, I’ve realized the importance of sleep more than I ever had before. It’s similar to only giving your car a gallon of gas when the trip takes at least two. The road trip is going to be severely cut short, and everyone is going to be grumpy by the end of it.  Trying to do a full day’s work on five hours of sleep just does not work for me. I have met my lucky peers who can work off of three hours, but I was not given that gift. I was made to struggle in a half-awake, half-asleep fog that comes after a bad night of rest. 

Of course, I don’t want to act like I discovered the idea of sleeping more to work better, I merely stumbled upon it after so many nights of little rest. I should have realized sooner, but I chose to ignore experts who told me to get eight hours of sleep. I thought those rules were merely a suggestion, a set of ideas that would be nice to follow but not necessary. Now I am proud to say that I get to bed before midnight most nights, which gives me just enough sleep before my morning class. It’s a very healthy habit that hasn’t affected my life in any monumentally negative way. Did I enjoy staying up late doing homework? No, I did not. Sleeping more means I’m able to do the work during the day, which feels exponentially better to me. I not only feel good physically, but mentally it’s another small victory to start the day. I don’t think I can emphasize the importance of small victories when trying new things enough. It has helped me to see the benefits and that makes me want to stay on top of it.