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I’m sleepy. Lately, I’ve been having trouble getting my 8 hours, which is a horrible fate for a slumber aficionado such as myself.

In high school, I NEEDED a solid 10 hours of sleep a day to function. Some of my fondest memories during that time involved going up to my room, putting on Barchords by Bahamas and taking my daily nap after school. German philosopher Immanuel Kant was well-known for his contribution to ethics during the Enlightenment. He was also known for his consistency in his schedule, to the point that his neighbors would set their clocks to his daily walks. More impressively, my mom could set her clocks with my after-school naps. Without fail, I would announce my upcoming kip to my family at 4:15 PM nearly every day. It was non-negotiable.

When you can nap like I do, you take one when you can. I can take a nap for 20 minutes and feel like a new person. I can take a nap and have such intense dreams that I wake up less than an hour and have no idea where I am or what day it is. And to me, that is perfect. 

For much of my life, I prioritized sleep over everything else. Many social gatherings have been declined in the pursuit of Zs. And to the dismay of my mother, many hours studying have been sacrificed for my chance to get a good night’s sleep. And let me tell you, each sacrifice has been fully worth it. Every time I missed a good night of sleep, I was a zombie, trudging through life slowly and ineffectually and usually much angrier than usual.

I rediscovered the importance of sleep in my life over the last 3 weeks trying to write this letter. After days of work where I could only work effectively for a few hours, my free time was spent staring off into space or into my phone, unable to really concentrate on anything. I would write a few words here and there before I would begin to struggle to focus enough to read anything I had written.

I was miserable. Every night, I tried something new in hopes of quieting the cacophony of my brain long enough to get some restful sleep. Melatonin and magnesium and haldi doodh and routines all found their way into my rotation. With each one, I’d find some marginal improvement, but I started to wonder if this ghoul-like state was my new normal. Would I never again see the beautiful sheen the world had when I was well-rested?

Thankfully, no. One thing actually worked— meditation. Where a variety of medicines and centuries-old remedies failed, a man quietly whispering in my ear about my breath for 10 minutes before bed worked. It turned out that there wasn’t anything biological affecting me, just a noggin filled with anxiety.

And there’s a lot to be anxious about! We’re in a strange time, but there’s only so much we can do. Remember to wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, don’t obsessively read the news, and if you’re having trouble sleeping, consider having a soft-spoken person whisper in your ear for 10 minutes about your breath. There are apps for that.

Stay safe!
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With alacrity,

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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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