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Nick Ang

Sleep is sacred

sleep is sacred nickang blog Photo by Natalia Figueredo on Unsplash

I’m very sleepy as I write this because I stayed up past midnight last night trying to add That One Last Part™ to a project I’m working on. This is my enthusiasm post-mortem.

I had to wrestle with myself to decide to stay awake and write this post instead of hitting the sack. It’s one of those things that are better done in the spur of the moment, while the regret is still fresh and stinging.

Here’s my realisation about sleep: it is sacred.

When I disrespect sleep, I invariably find myself regretting it at some point very soon, usually within the proceeding 24 hours. When it happens to me, I subconsciously reach for the cup like an addict. Sleep deprivation happens to everybody and it needs to be addressed.

Sleep, even if you’re on a roll

Yesterday was a fantastic day because I conceived of a new software project that is manageable and in my opinion, incredibly fun. I started work shortly after some paper sketches and Evernote brainstorming, and I worked late into the night.

Still brimming with enthusiasm, I wanted to write as much good code as I could without pause. It was easy to keep that up at first, but as the sun set and the literal red moon rose, it became gradually harder and harder to code.

At half past midnight, I finally decided to commit my code and slap my MacBook shut. I was going to give in to fatigue and get some sleep.

For the entire day today, I’ve kept up a good pace of coding for the project for the most part. I’m happy about that, but I’m also steeping in regret right now as my body and mind are slow and I know it’s time to pay it back.

The sucky part is, you never really get to pay it back. I don’t know about the biology literature surrounding this topic, but I know from many such experiences that sleeping 3 hours extra after losing 3 hours of sleep the night before never adds up to a net zero.

So here’s the goal: sleep when you’re tired, regardless of your current situation. If you’re in a positive state, it will be harder to shut off and convince yourself to come back tomorrow than if you’re in a negative state.

In either situation, remember that sleep is sacred. Diss it and it will smite you in the eyes, brain, neck, back… basically, all of you. The sleep-deprived will get their retribution. Learn to respect sleep and it will leave you be.

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