Editor's Note: Counting Sheep

I only got five hours of sleep last night.”

“You think that’s bad? I only got two!”

Almost daily, I overhear conversations like this where people are glorifying a lack of sleep. They are competing with each other to see who is the most stressed and who has the most unhealthy behavior. 

This used to be me in my freshman year. I would stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. and then have to wake up for an 8 a.m. class. I, along with everyone else, thought it was “cool.” But I also struggled to stay awake in class and felt very low energy all of the time. 

It's become the norm to pull all-nighters during midterms and finals, and only get three to four hours of sleep the rest of the time. 

But when and why did it become okay to glorify habits that are actually hurting us? Why aren’t we encouraging one another to take better care of ourselves and treat our minds and bodies right? 

I decided early on my first year that I needed to change my habits to be healthier. One of my main goals was to get on a sleep schedule. Of course, these changes didn’t happen overnight — going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time everyday was tricky at first. Eventually, I found the bed times and morning alarms that worked best for me and allowed me to go through my day feeling energized and motivated.

Of course, everyone functions at their own sleeping hours. For some people, five hours is plenty to get through the day with, whereas others might need closer to 10. Some people live on a sleep schedule, and others thrive off of random bedtimes. 

Regardless of where you fall, it’s important to encourage one another to treat our bodies right. Instead of fighting the sleepiness when it hits, try taking a 15-minute power nap or hitting the hay a little earlier that night. Instead of competing with your friends and classmates to see who got the least amount of sleep, start a challenge to see who can maintain the healthiest sleep habits for a week. 

Let’s try to stop this unhealthy, destructive sleep behavior and start emphasizing the importance of being well-rested. We shouldn’t be proud of getting less sleep than our peers. Rather, we should find ways to work healthy habits into our everyday lives one night at a time.