Sleep is an act of defiance somewhere like Cambridge where you are constantly expected to produce work, seek out opportunities, be on 101 committees and constantly do. I think it’s time we stopped fetishizing exhaustion and recognised sleep for what it is – a necessary part of our survival: existentially, academically and mentally. My relationship with sleep has gone through phases over the past two years and I am slowly learning to recognise it as a rebellion against an often-unhealthy workload and as something which I deserve to give myself consistently. I thought I would share some of the ways I’ve learnt to actively make sleep a priority…
1. Make it decaf, seriously.
2. Give yourself time to switch off. You can’t expect to get quality sleep if your mind is still analysing Marx’s theories of labour or stewing over your latest problem sheet!
3. Find out how many hours of sleep your body needs to function optimally and enforce them.
4. Put your bin out on cleaning days – if you need those extra minutes ensure you pre-plan so that you don’t get woken by a chirpy housekeeper.
5. Last – and perhaps most importantly – no deadline is worth enough to ruin your sleep and consequently your mental and/or physical wellbeing. Terms are so condensed here that one all-nighter can easily screw up your entire work and sleep cycle. It’s just not worth it.