I desire nothing more than a deep restful sleep.
Writing aside, the one thing I always want to do is sleep. I crave the feeling of burrowing deep into a thick blanket on a rainy day, with nothing to do but relax. Yet, just like writing, I hardly indulge myself with a good night’s rest. Even on weekends and holidays I am up as early as possible to tackle the day’s tasks of staring at my phone for hours straight, then taking a break to stare at my television for the rest of the day. I find it difficult to do the more productive things like writing, reading, pondering my life’s existence; all I do is stare at a screen.
Thankfully, everyone in the world is going through the same thing. The netizens have come up with a term for this: Revenge Bedtime Procrastination ‘bàofùxìng áoyè’ as the Chinese refer to it. This term describes how people who do not have much control over their lives and schedules during the day refuse to go to sleep so as to gain some sense of control and freedom at night. I definitely understand this. I have a poster in my room which boldly shouts “Stop waiting for Friday!” which is really easier said than done. I work all day and all week, and when I get off work I just want to do whatever. The problem is that I am sacrificing sleep for temporary pleasure, and it is getting harder to ignore the negative effects. I deleted Instagram for Lent, and before I did I would spend hours, way past my bed time, mindlessly scrolling through pointless posts on the explore page. Did I really need to go down the rabbit hole of what celebrity is sleeping with who? Did I care about the pointless e-fight between people I don’t know? Animal videos, tik-toks, every damn thing. I would lay in bed with my eyes burning and yet I could not tear my eyes away and go to sleep. The effect of this is that I was often tired and forgetful. I never truly felt rested, and would wake up tired. I would chastise myself for wasting all that time that I could have spent sleeping, but yet when nighttime came I would do it all over again. I deleted Instagram but quickly replaced it with YouTube, watching tens of videos each day, wildly swinging from broody hens to notable dictators to my favourite crime videos.
I recently saw a video about the importance of getting adequate sleep and how detrimental less than 7.5 hours of restful sleep is to our health. Of course I already knew this, but still I spent the time watching it on YouTube after getting a good 5 hours of sleep. The interesting thing was the roles phones, laptops et al play in our raggedy sleep schedules. The blue light emitted from the screens increase cortisol which makes it difficult for us to go to sleep. Again I know this and I always promise myself that I will put away from my electronics an hour before bedtime and I almost never do.
Not to keep banging on about loneliness, but this is yet another way loneliness shows up in my life. Years of living alone with no one to have a regular conversation with has made me deeply addicted to my phone. Most days, the only voices I hear are from my phone or telly. Tragic. If I had regular human contact with people I actually care to talk to, I reckon I would be less dependent on my phone. A couple of weeks back I kept my telly off the whole weekend and read a book instead. At first I was racing through the book so I could turn on the TV and faff around, but as time went on I decided to not watch tv until I was done with the book. I thought to myself “The TV and the shows in it are not going anywhere! Just take a break and relax.” It was actually weird to see how dependent I am, like a child with no self control. I did take some YouTube breaks to reward myself for reaching milestone pages, but still it felt good to do something else with my time (and my eyes were thankful for that).
I am not going to end this with another nonsensical declaration about how I will throw my phones away and sleep more, because I probably won’t. I will try though, because it will be sad when this pandemic is over and we are all back to commuting and I realise I did not take advantage of my time at home by sleeping enough. On Sunday, after spending the whole of Saturday on YouTube, I woke up early as usual, quickly perused YT and forced myself to go back to sleep for a few more hours. It felt good.
The takeaway is this; binging on YouTube is as terrible as my sugar binges. The videos and shows will still be there, and I need to pace myself. Sleep tight!